SAN FRANCISCO (January 15, 2019) —Legal Aid at Work and Stewart & Musell LLP, with the support of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, have filed a sex harassment lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service on behalf of two female letter carriers for failing to stop a serial harasser who has been preying upon women postal workers in the San Francisco Bay Area for at least 15 years.
The Complaint filed January 14 alleges a longstanding and shocking pattern of abuse by postal service employee and supervisor Ronald Caluag, who worked in the Daly City post office. It details how Mr. Caluag’s conduct quickly escalated from telling one of the plaintiffs that he “loved” her and smelling and kissing her hair over her protestations, to violent physical assault—“wrapping his arms around her, kissing her aggressively with his tongue, causing her to fall down, and then falling on top of her.”
In another terrifying incident described in the Complaint, Mr. Caluag used the ruse of a smoke break to isolate one of the female plaintiffs before grabbing her, pressing himself against her body, and trying to kiss her while she physically struggled to free herself and repeated the word “no!”
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Caluag’s abusive sexual behavior was an open secret at the Post Office for years, yet the Postal Service took no effective actions to end it.
When the women did come forward to formally report Mr. Caluag they were forced to continue to work near Mr. Caluag, fearing every day that he would attack them again or seek revenge.
Although the Postal Service eventually transferred Mr. Caluag to a different post office just a few short miles away (in San Francisco) after the women complained, it continues to employ him to this very day. As a result, the women live in continual fear that he will attack them again on the job, especially while they are out delivering mail alone in the field.
“This case illustrates why so few women come forward to report sex harassment” said Legal Aid at Work attorney Julia Parish, who represents the Plaintiffs. “The employer is often already aware of the misconduct—which in this case has been going on for well over a decade—yet the employee is allowed to continue to prey on women. When employees do come forward, they are retaliated against for finally saying ‘enough is enough!’”
“The Postal Service continues to traumatize these women, who legitimately fear they will be assaulted when they go into work each day,‘ said Wendy Musell, who also represents the two female postal workers. “It is mind-boggling that our own federal government would continue to employ this serial harasser, giving him access over and over again to new women to prey upon.”
This case has garnered financial backing from the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, which seeks to end sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace.
The Complaint in the case is available here. In addition to damages, the Plaintiffs are seeking an injunction that will forbid Mr. Caluag from being allowed to work in the same facility as the two women.
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About Legal Aid at Work:
Legal Aid at Work advances justice and economic opportunity for low-income people and their families at work, in school, and in the community. Overall, our clients are among the nearly eight million California residents who cannot adequately support themselves and their families, despite the fact that 79.5% of Californian families living in poverty have at least one adult working. We believe that all persons deserve dignity and fair treatment in the workplace and economic stability for themselves and their families. www.legalaidatwork.org