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California Worker Files $1.5 M Claim against District Attorney and County for Sexual Harassment

January 16, 2010

In recent California Employment Law news, an employee of San Bernardino County District Attorney's office has filed a claim against the county for $1.5 million, after filing a complaint against District Attorney Michael A. Ramos in August of last year, for sexual harassment and retaliation.

Cheryl Ristow worked for the District Attorney's office for seven years as an investigative technician, and claimed to have been involved in an affair with Ramos for over three years, that ended in 2005. Ristow later corrected this statement to the San Bernardino Sun Times, and stated that the relationship lasted for one and one half years--from September of 2003 until February of 2005.

Ristow alleges that after the relationship ended and news of the affair surfaced in a local newspaper, Ristow was rejected by Ramos, and made to endure workplace hostility.

Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michael Fermin and Michael Smith, Chief District Attorney Investigator, are also named in the suit. The suite alleges that Fermin acted as the main conduit between Ristow and Ramos--when the story of the alleged affair was about to become public.

According to the claim, in the months after the public release of the story, Ramos cut off contact with her, and her supervisors accused her of violations that were unwarranted and trivial. Ristow took a disability leave of absence in July of 2009, after claiming that she had been routinely subjected to a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and retaliation. She has reportedly not returned to work since.

Ristow seeks $1.5 million in monetary damages for negligence, sexual harassment, personal injury, defamation of character, and other charges. Ristow also seeks $38,000 in lost wages.

Ramos publicly denied all allegations, and claimed that they were politically motivated and false. The county hired an independent firm to conduct an investigation into the sexual harassment and retaliation complaints.

If you or someone you know in Orange County or throughout Southern California has a labor or employment issue, our team of Anaheim-based team of attorneys and professionals can help find a solution for your recovery. Call Howard Law, PC today for a free consultation at 1-800-872-5925.

Woman Accuses D.A. Ramos of Sexual Harassment, High Desert Daily Press, August 7, 2009

Woman Files $1.5M Claim Against County for Sexual Harassment, High Desert Daily Press, January 8, 2009

Woman Files $1.5 million Claim Against SB County, DA, San Bernardino Sun, January 7, 2009

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC)