Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Former staffer files sexual harassment complaint against Councilman Jose Huizar

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The former deputy chief of staff to Councilman Jose Huizar has accused the Los Angeles politician of harassment, discrimination and retaliation in a complaint filed with State Department of Fair Housing and Employment.

The complaint was filed by Francine Godoy, who worked for the councilman from 2006 until earlier this year. She is now with the Bureau of Sanitation, according to the department's personnel division. 

An attorney for Godoy, Michael Eisenberg, told KPCC, "We are not speaking about the allegations at this point in time."

In her June 7 complaint, Godoy stated, "I was subjected to sexual harassment (quid pro quo and hostile work environment) and retaliated against when I refused advances." 

She further  states that she was asked "impermissible non-job-related questions," demoted, denied employment and promotion, forced to quit, terminated, and denied the ability to run for office. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, Godoy was hired in 2006 with a salary of $47,000. By 2012, she was a top aide who made $112,000 annually. When she left Huizar's office this year as his deputy chief of staff, Godoy was reported to have a salary of $133,000. 

A spokesman for the 14th District said the councilman was "surprised" by the accusation.

"He strongly and emphatically denies the assertions made in the claim sent to the city and intends to fully cooperate with the city in any investigation of this matter.  Because of the potential for litigation, we cannot at this time comment on this issue any further," said Rick Coca. 

A representative for council President Herb Wesson confirmed that he authorized the Personnel Department to form a committee to investigate the claims. The city's administrative code calls for the committee to be made up of two former judges (male and female), two law school professors (male and female) and one member of the American Arbitration Association.

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