Filner attorney: City liable for failing to provide training - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Filner attorney: City liable for failing to provide sexual harassment training

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) -- The civil attorney representing Mayor Bob Filner has issued a letter to the City of San Diego claiming it failed to provide sexual harassment training to Filner within the first six months of his employment as required by law. As a result, the City may be liable for damages, according to the letter.

Attorney Harvey Berger wrote the July 29 letter knowing full well it would be made public.

In it, Berger claimed, "The City has a legal obligation to provide sexual harassment training to all management level employees, and to provide such training to new managers within six (6) months of hire."

Bob Filner was sworn in as mayor on December 3, 2012.

"The City failed to provide such training to Mayor Filner. In fact, it is my understanding that such training was scheduled, but that the trainer for the City unilaterally cancelled, and never re-scheduled such training for the Mayor (and others)," the letter said.

Additionally, the letter said Filner never received sexual harassment training during his tenure as a U.S. congressman.

Berger is a private attorney, hired to defend Filner in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed July 22 by the Mayor's former director of communications, Irene McCormack Jackson.

The sexual harassment incidents McCormack Jackson detailed occurred between January 25, 2013 and June 2013, and included inappropriate sexual comments and Filner placing McCormack Jackson in a headlock, according to the complaint.

The letter asked the city pay for Filner's legal fees; a request the City Council rejected Tuesday.

It refers to McCormack Jackson's lawsuit as "unverified" because the complaint was signed by McCormack Jackson's attorney, Gloria Allred, and not the plaintiff herself. "Mayor Filner denies the allegations brought by Ms. McCormack Jackson," wrote Berger. "I am not currently aware of any witnesses supporting the plaintiff's specific allegations."

Berger also responded to allegations aired publicly by seven other women in the media.

"Virtually all of these statements refer to alleged acts committed years ago, not while Mayor Filner was in this present role, and such claims would be barred by the statute of limitations," Berger wrote. "It is highly unlikely that any of these witnesses will be allowed to testify to such remote and alleged incidents in this pending lawsuit."

"We would also point out that may of the alleged statements and behaviors are not even employment related, and therefore not legally sexually harassment," the letter concluded.

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