The New York Times reported today that a new federal lawsuit is accusing Harvard University of doing nothing in response to multiple complaints that one of its professors sexually harassed his graduate students and threatened them with “career-ending retaliation” to silence them and dissuade them from reporting his misconduct.
According to the lawsuit (Czerwienski, Kilburn, Mandava v. Harvard University And The President And Fellows Of Harvard College, Case No. 1:22-cv-10202 (D. Mass 2022)), when one of the students actually complained to Harvard, she was “met with predictable indifference” though it was clear to her that the professor’s inappropriate sexual conduct was already known to the University. The lawsuit also alleges that Harvard “willfully ignored the overwhelming evidence” which was also known to the University and “moved swiftly to forestall further complaints.”
In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act forbids (https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=12940.&lawCode=GOV) an entity from “ignoring” complaints of harassment and instead mandates that an entity must take all steps to stop discrimination and harassment from occurring. This, according to California courts, includes performing a prompt investigation (and actually taking corrective action in response to its findings). The law also bans retaliation of the type alleged by Ms. Czerwienski, Ms. Kilburn and Ms. Mandava.
If you believe that you are being retaliated against for your complaints of harassment or discrimination in the workplace, please reach out. This type of intimidation is illegal and should not be permitted to continue. Courtney may be able to help.