The city of Carson and its mayor are being sued by a former council field representative who alleges she was fired for complaining about being sexually harassed by the mayor, who Thursday denied her claims.
Monette Gavino filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, naming the city and Mayor Albert Robles and seeking unspecified damages. The suit’s allegations include wrongful termination, sexual and gender harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Robles told City News Service today that he had not yet seen the lawsuit, but “categorically denies” ever sexually harassing Gavino or retaliating against her after she lost her job.
Robles was elected to the City Council in 2013 and became mayor two years later. According to the complaint, Gavino was working on Robles’ council campaign in February 2013 and was riding in a car with him when he asked her if she would be his “secret girlfriend.”
After Gavino declined, Robles “suddenly grabbed the back of Ms. Gavino’s head and kissed her on her lips while putting his hand inside her dress,” the suit alleges.
Robles then grasped Gavino by her buttocks and moved his hand toward her private parts, at which time she pushed him away and got out of his car, according to the complaint.
As she left, Robles said, “Hey Monette, I’d love to see you in your thong,” the suit alleges.
In September 2014, Robles called Gavino into his office and complimented her on her legs, then leaned over, put a hand on one of her knees and said, “I really love to touch your legs,” according to the lawsuit.
Gavino got up, moved Robles aside and left, the suit states.
Robles continued to make sexual advances toward Gavino until last June, when she complained to her supervisor, Charlotte Arrick, the suit alleges. Nothing was done to make Robles change his alleged misconduct, according to the complaint.
Gavino says she was fired last July 9 and was told it was for budget reasons.
After Gavino filed a claim against the city last September, Robles falsely accused Gavino on social media and elsewhere of being a looter and referred to her as the girlfriend of City Clerk Jim Dear, the suit alleges.
Robles said he does not utilize social media other than Facebook.
Robles was a key supporter of the unsuccessful effort to lure the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers to Carson in anticipation of a stadium being built in the city for both teams.
—City News Service