Friday, November 22, 2019

Lawyers Drop Bombshell in Suit against SEIU-UHW and Dave Regan

Dave Regan

Here’s the latest from the lawsuit filed by a former staffer who alleges that SEIU-UHW president Dave Regan and other top officials created a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination that led to an assault against a women staffer.  

The case, known as Sturge vs. SEIU-UHW, is being heard in Alameda County Superior Court.

In a recent court filing, Sturge’s lawyers dropped a bombshell.

Remember Chokri BenSaid?

He’s Regan’s right-hand man and at one point was rumored to be Regan’s heir apparent. Regan placed him on SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board and Executive Committee, and also appointed him to direct the union’s Hospital Division.  

Well, witnesses testified in sworn depositions that he’s a vicious stalker and harasser of women, according to records filed by Sturge's attorneys.

And it gets worse.

Top SEIU-UHW officials hired him just weeks after he was fired by SEIU for sexual harassment, according to court records.

Which SEIU-UHW officials knew about BenSaid's history of sexual harassment?  

General Counsel (Bruce Harland) and Regan’s Deputy Chief of Staff (Triana Silton), according to court records.

Why is this bad for Regan and SEIU-UHW?

Sturge’s lawyers allege that Regan and Co. fostered a workplace culture of sexual harassment and discrimination against women. Obviously, it doesn’t look too good if Regan and Co. hired, and then promoted to one of the union's highest positions, a person with a known track record of sexually harassing women.

What did BenSaid allegedly do to women at SEIU-UHW?

According to sworn testimony, he propositioned them, stalked them, retaliated against them, harassed them…

For example, one person testified he referred to a woman co-worker as a “whore” and a “bitch,” stalked her, and caused her to resign her job. He allegedly exchanged texts with a co-worker like:  “I think I might want to f*ck Georgette first.” “Just like to spin her on my d*ck lol.” Another testified that he propositioned an SEIU-UHW organizer and when she turned him down, he called her a bitch and told her to “f*ck off.” And he allegedly had inappropriate photos of women on his cell phone.

Given the broader social awareness brought by the MeToo movement, it's hard to imagine that SEIU-UHW's hiring, promotion and treatment of BenSaid will not look devastatingly bad to a jury.

What’s next in the case?

It’s heading to a trial. Last Friday, the judge scheduled the start of the trial for January 27, 2020.  Stay tuned.