Disaster relief group says woman must arbitrate harassment complaints

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A woman who claims a fire brigade chief sexually harassed her and other young women working for the community-organized relief effort during coronavirus testing in 2020 must having an arbitrator, not a jury, decide the part of its lawsuit against the organization, CORE lawyers argue in new court documents.

Sarena Serrano’s lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court was filed on September 8 against CORE; its CEO, Ann Young Lee; the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Fire Battalion Chief Jaime Lesinski alleging sexual harassment, gender-based violence, sexual battery, aiding and abetting sexual harassment, retaliation, non-prevention of harassment and wrongful dismissal.

The co-founder of CORE by Lee is actor Sean Penn.

In court documents filed Wednesday, CORE’s attorneys state that Serrano was hired on June 16, 2020, and a week later she emailed an electronically signed copy of her employment contract in which she agreed that all disputes would be submitted to arbitration.

“The Complainant’s claims against CORE arise exclusively from her employment and termination and are therefore covered by the parties’ arbitration agreement,” CORE’s attorneys state in their court documents. “Strict policies under Federal and California law require the complainant to arbitrate her claims. “

A hearing on CORE’s motion to force arbitration of Serrano’s claims against the organization and Lee is scheduled for Jan. 19 before Judge Dennis J. Landin. While the petition does not concern the parties to the Serrano case against the other defendants, CORE’s attorneys request that the entire case be suspended pending the outcome of the arbitration.

CORE provided coronavirus testing at Dodger Stadium from June to October 2020, the suit says. Lesinski worked at the site from June to August 2020 and oversaw, managed and led operations in coordination with Lee, according to the lawsuit.

Serrano and other young women who worked with Lesinki on a daily basis were touched by him on the lower back and buttocks without consent, subjected to inappropriate sexual comments on their sexual organs and forced to hear sexually humiliating comments about them , indicates the trial.

Lesinski once hinted that Serrano was a prostitute, saying, “Looks like you worked hard last night,” the costume says.

Lee and other CORE managers knew or should have known about Lesinski’s allegedly inappropriate behavior in June 2020, according to the lawsuit.

Serrano asked his supervisor for a day off with pay after he suffered a nervous breakdown upon learning that Lee had reportedly known about Lesinski’s conduct for months and had done nothing to correct it, but he was told that she could only have unpaid leave, says the lawsuit.

Serrano was fired last October for unspecified “unprofessional behavior”, the lawsuit says.

“When (Serrano) complained to her supervisors, including Lee, that Lesinski had sexually harassed her, Lee said (Serrano) that she knew Lesinski was engaging in sexual harassment behavior in the workplace. , but that she couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything about it, because he was her friend, ” according to the costume.

Later, Lee and / or someone from Human Resources Management at CORE confronted Serrano about his complaints about Lesinski and basically said, “What did you do to make him feel bad?” comfortable like that? The costume says.

Instead of conducting a neutral investigation into Serrano’s complaints, CORE found a reason to fire her, the lawsuit says.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.


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