Claim Outlines Sexual Harassment, Hostile Work Environment, and Retaliation

San Bernardino, CA – The City of San Bernardino has 45 days to accept or deny the fourth claim filed by The Law Offices of Pelayes & Yu against the City of San Bernardino for misconduct by Mayor John Valdivia.

Over the eight months 26-year-old Jackie Aboud was employed as a Legislative Field Representative for Mayor Valvidiva, she was subjected to sexual harassment, ridicule, retaliation, and discriminatory behavior – including making fun of individuals for being homeless or based on their ethnicity. Ms. Aboud was unlawfully terminated in retaliation for not giving in to the Mayor’s advances and reporting his behavior to Human Resources.

The claim outlines details of Mayor Valdivia’s inappropriate behavior and mental abuse. Some specific examples are listed below.

  • On numerous occasions, Mayor Valdivia told Ms. Aboud that she needed to “develop a personal relationship with him” by spending time with “outside of work.”
  • Mayor Valdivia would threaten Ms. Aboud with termination and impose unfavorable working conditions if she did not give in to his advances. He would tell her she was replaceable and wouldn’t be able to get a job elsewhere.
  • Mayor Valdivia stripped her assignments, denied her training requests, ridiculed her, and imposed unreasonable demands.
  • Ms. Aboud was told to come to work early and stay late without pay to ensure her job was “safe.” She was also ordered to pay for and attend functions with the Mayor on her own time. When she failed to do so, she would be punished. He stated her job wasn’t to serve the community but to serve him and his “personal needs.”
  • During a staff presentation, Mayor Valdivia spoke about how he was disgusted by homeless people and thought it was funny to scare them to death by pretending he was going to run them over with his car. 
  • Mayor Valdivia instructed Ms. Aboud not to assist with any service requests made by those who did not support him, specifically those who lived above the 210 freeway in wards 4 and 7.
Jackie Aboud speaks at a news conference about the sexual harassment and hostile work environment she endured by Mayor Valdivia

Ms. Aboud reported the Mayor’s behavior but was warned that he would retaliate against her and that nothing could be done because he was an elected official.

Ms. Aboud was terminated on January 6, 2020, at the direction of Mayor Valdivia. She immediately went to the Human Resources Department to follow up on her initial reports of the Mayor’s misconduct toward her as well as other employees. The City made no efforts to investigate the reports appropriately.

“This is yet another example of not only the Mayor’s disgusting behavior but the City’s failure to protect its employees. Instead of taking action and holding the Mayor accountable, they are punishing the victims who come forward.”

Attorney Tristan Pelayes

The City has rejected the first two claims filed by failing to respond within the allotted 45-day timeframe; lawsuits are pending filing. They have yet to respond to the third claim that was filed approximately one month ago.