A California Democratic Party staffer has filed a lawsuit against his employer and its former chairman alleging assault, sexual harassment and sexual battery including an incident at a Long Beach hotel.
William Floyd’s lawsuit alleges former party chairman Eric Bauman forcibly performed oral sex on him three times between 2016 and 2018, and that Bauman groped and harassed him. His lawsuit alleges Bauman was known as an excessive drinker and that neither the state party nor Los Angeles County Democratic Party did anything to stop his inappropriate behavior.
Floyd has filed his lawsuit under civil rights and workplace sexual harassment laws and he is seeking monetary damages.
Bauman resigned as party chairman last November amid multiple allegations of excessive drinking and sexual harassment. This is the second lawsuit against him. He denied the allegations through his attorney, Neal Zaslavsky.
“We have not yet been formally served with the lawsuit,” he said in an emailed statement. “Mr. Bauman denies the allegations in the complaint and looks forward to complete vindication once the facts come out.”
Alexandra Gallardo Rooker, acting chair of the state party, said through a spokesman she was unaware of Floyd’s allegations prior to seeing the lawsuit. Floyd alleged the party attempted to force him to quit and has not apologize for Bauman’s behavior. Spokesman Roger Salazar declined to comment on whether anyone in the party knew of the allegations previously.
“The allegations that are made in this lawsuit are very serious and deserve a hearing,” Rooker said in an emailed statement. “The most appropriate venue for us all to learn the truth, whatever it may be, is ultimately in the courtroom where we can let the sun shine in.”
Floyd, 28, began working for the Los Angeles County Democratic Party in 2015 as an intern and became Bauman’s assistant in March 2016, according to the lawsuit. Bauman was the county party chair at the time.
“He quickly became fearful of Bauman, who drank excessively, behaved erratically, intimidated him and others and frequently threatened that ‘if you cross me, I will break you,'” the lawsuit alleges.
Bauman forcibly performed oral sex on Floyd three times over two years, the lawsuit said. At a county party executive committee meeting in Long Beach, the lawsuit alleges Floyd fell asleep in Bauman’s hotel room where he had been hanging out with two other party employees and awoke to find Bauman performing oral sex on him, according to the lawsuit.
Floyd continued to work for Bauman, accepting a position as his assistant when Bauman became chairman of the state party. The lawsuit alleges Bauman performed oral sex on Floyd twice more, first asking him to unzip his pants. Floyd complied because he was “uncomfortable, intimidated (and) scared,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also alleges Bauman would touch Floyd inappropriately, commented on his physical anatomy and joked with Floyd about assaulting him.
Floyd told a senior member of the party management about Bauman’s sexual assault against him November 2018 and later talked to an investigator hired by the party to look into claims against Bauman, the lawsuit alleges. A week after speaking with the investigator, the lawsuit says Floyd was told the party was closing its Los Angeles office and he would have to move to Sacramento to keep his job.
Floyd believed the party was trying to force him to quit, but he moved to Sacramento and still works for the party, according to the lawsuit. He plans to leave the party’s employment this summer to go to graduate school.
Floyd filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the precursor to a lawsuit, in December 2018 alleging a quid pro quo and hostile work environment.
His suit alleges Bauman was a well-known heavy drinker and that the county and state parties “knew or should have known that Bauman was incompetent and unfit to perform the duties for which he was employed.”
The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles superior court.
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