UC Berkeley Dean of Law reinstated post Sexual Harassment
Sujit Choudry returns to UC Berkeley
California – UC Berkeley has allowed former dean of law, Sujit Choudhry, to return to work months after the university discovered he violated the sexual harassment policy after Tyann Sorrell, executive assistant, filed the sexual harassment lawsuit against Choudhry. The absence of the dean allowed, Sorrell to begin to feel sense of being normal again. As of present day, her harasser has returned, and she’s devastated.
Prior to Choudhry’s departure in March 2016, Sorrell claims she was subjected to sexual harassment by the prominent dean of law. Sorrell asserts she experienced unwanted physical contact from Choudhry. She said he would kiss, hug, and touch her continuously without her consent. The sexual harassment lawsuit revealed that the sexual contact occurred “multiple times per day.” Sorrell says she was also sexually harassed while she was typing at work. Actions as such can hinder an employee from fulfilling work duties. If you have experienced a similar situation, seek a sexual harassment attorney for legal guidance.
On several other occasions, Sorrell alleged that Choudhry would guide her hands to touch him inappropriately. The former dean of law placed Sorrell in an uncomfortable predicament that would often leave her extremely emotional. At a later date, Choudhry confessed to touching Sorrell, which confirmed he violated the sexual harassment policy at UC Berkeley. As oppose to handling Choudhry’s workplace misconduct according to the sexual harassment policy, the university decided to “reduce his salary” for a short period of time.
Once an individual reaches a certain level of income, a temporary 10% reduction in pay may not send the right message to the harasser. The sexual harassment lawsuit caused a lot of critics to express their opinion. Most respondents believed the university did not protect the victim or punish the harasser in an appropriate manner. Although Choudhry was one of the top employees at UC Berkeley, his status does not exempt him from punishment. Every workplace has rules to follow, and Choudhry is responsible for complying with the rules and laws.
In March, it appeared that Choudhry resigned from his position at UC Berkeley, however, faculty records indicate that he is still employed at the university. In the event that an employee in a lower level position engaged in Choudhry’s unethical behavior, his or her employment would’ve been terminated without a doubt. Choudhry, on the other hand, is an asset to the workplace, so he stands a greater chance to remain employed. It’s unfair to treat employees differently in the workplace, especially if they’re involved in a similar and serious situation.
According to the request of the UC president in March, Choudhry wasn’t allowed to return to campus for the remaining duration of the spring semester. The president allegedly failed to issue Choudhry a solid ban from the university, which allowed him to return to work after the negative publicity calmed down, according to the lawyer representing Choudhry. Currently, Choudhry’s purpose for his return to campus is to complete research, writing, and student advisement. He will not be a professor this semester.
Choudhry’s Point of View
According to an email Sorrell sent Choudhry in 2015 stating, “I know you don’t mean anything by it, other than, perhaps a warm and friendly greeting,” Choudhry claims his actions were not sexual. Sorrell’s sexual harassment attorney argued that women in Sorrell’s position tend to hide the truth behind their situation. These women rely on their income to support their family. Most women cannot afford to lose their jobs, and in certain sexual harassment cases, loss wages and termination may follow sexual harassment allegations.
Sorrell admitted “shame” is the reason why she remained quiet for so long. She said she attempted to complain to Choudhry about his actions in a manner that wouldn’t penalize her, but that tactic was unsuccessful. Sorrell’s attorney believes Choudhry doesn’t comprehend what it’s like to deal with sexual harassment. Choudhry is an intelligent individual who was well aware of his misconduct, and now he’s playing victim.
In addition to justifying his actions, Choudhry’s victim approach expressed how much his family faced during the outcome of the sexual harassment allegations. Choudhry said, “My family was besieged for weeks by media from around the world.” Choudhry’s point of view indirectly removes him from all faults, but evidence proves other wise including the resignation of the chancellor and provost for “mishandling” the sexual harassment accusations Choudhry faced in addition to other work related issues.
Did sexual harassment return to UC Berkeley?
There is no definite answer to this question. Sadly, Choudhry’s presence on campus does place individuals on campus in a position to become victims. Sorrell argued that Choudhry might prevent other individuals from speaking up since it appears that his punishments are temporary. Sorrell’s sexual harassment lawsuit is still pending, and she decided to remain on administrative leave while her harasser continues to work on campus.
It’s difficult for a victim to return to a work environment with a former boss who placed her in a workplace including sexual harassment. Sorrell’s sexual harassment attorney believes Choudhry’s work duties could be handled off campus. Students are unhappy with Choudhry’s return and there’s nothing they can do about it.
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If you are a current or former victim of sexual harassment employed in New York, New Jersey, or Philadelphia, contact a sexual harassment attorney at the Derek T. Smith Law Group, PLLC in New York, New Jersey, or Philadelphia. Our sexual harassment attorneys are prepared to review your sexual harassment case, and deliver a solution that satisfies your preference. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly at work and remain free from environments including sexual harassment and individuals that cause sexual harassment to take place. For more information on sexual harassment at work, read our employment law blog.
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