Friday, February 7, 2020

SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan Inks Secret Deal to Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Just Days before Trial

Only days before a jury trial was set to begin in Alameda County (Calif.) Superior Court, Dave Regan and SEIU-UHW reached a secret deal to settle a lawsuit by a former SEIU-UHW staffer alleging sexual harassment, discrimination, battery, defamation and gender violence, according to court records.

The tentative deal, reached last month, appears to have been finalized in recent days. On February 5, the plaintiff’s attorney submitted a formal “Request for Dismissal” of the lawsuit known as Sturge vs. SEIU-UHW, according to court records.

The lawsuit, filed in 2018, exposed jaw-dropping allegations about Regan, SEIU-UHW Vice President Stan Lyles, Chokri Bensaid, Marcus Hatcher, Greg Pullman and other SEIU-UHW officials, according to court records.

Seven current and former SEIU-UHW members and staffers gave sworn testimony alleging that Regan was drunk on the job and repeatedly engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior towards women staffers and union members. More details are below.

How much did SEIU-UHW pay to settle the suit?

At this point, the terms of the settlement are secret. However, the settlement likely carries a hefty price tag.

SEIU-UHW likely agreed to pay for all of Sturge’s legal expenses and attorney’s fees for the past two years. Plus, Regan likely authorized payment for compensatory and punitive damages, which were demanded in the lawsuit

Who’s footing the bill?

Even though violations were allegedly carried out by officers of SEIU-UHW, the union’s members ultimately pay the bills. Regan is reportedly telling SEIU-UHW staffers that the union’s insurance policy will cover at least some of the settlement. But just as your auto insurance premiums go up if you’re a bad driver, Tasty believes that SEIU-UHW will now likely face higher insurance costs – which are paid by the union’s members.

On top of that, SEIU-UHW must pay all of the costs associated with its legal defense during the past two years. SEIU-UHW’s General Counsel Bruce Harland and two other attorneys have been involved in trying to defend SEIU-UHW against the allegations. Given that the attorneys probably charge $300-$500 per hour, the total bill is likely very large.

What kind of allegations have emerged from the lawsuit?

Dave Regan
Seven current and former SEIU-UHW members and staffers gave sworn testimony to the court alleging shocking behavior by Regan, Stan Lyles, Chokri Bensaid and Marcus Hatcher. Hatcher and Bensaid served on SEIU-UHW’s Executive Committee and Executive Board when the alleged violations took place. Regan, in addition to being the president of SEIU-UHW, also serves as a Vice President of SEIU in Washington DC.

Here are some of the details from the sworn testimony:

One SEIU-UHW member alleges she was fired from her job at Kaiser Permanente after she refused Marcus Hatcher’s “repeated” requests to go out with him. Hatcher allegedly told her he would retaliate against her if she refused his romantic overtures. During her official termination hearing at Kaiser, Hatcher allegedly told her, “You are paying for turning me down.”  

When she got a new job at another hospital, she says she tried to “lay low and not be noticed by anyone at UHW.” Eventually, she ran into Hatcher on the job, according to her testimony. She alleges: “The very next day, I was told I was being investigated. Mr. Hatcher told me, ‘It’s following you.’” She says she made a written report of these incidents to Greg Pullman, Dave Regan’s Chief of Staff, who allegedly never responded.

Another woman, also an employee of Kaiser Permanente, attended a multi-day SEIU-UHW training for Kaiser employees in 2017. She alleges that Regan, who “was very intoxicated – and not for the first time,” attended a gathering of women union members during the meeting and “went around asking the women if he could sniff their panties.” Later that year, she attended another SEIU-UHW event where Regan allegedly “had his face in the breasts of a steward and was clearly drunk,” according to her sworn testimony.

A third woman, also a union member, testified that Stan Lyles allegedly sent photos of his penis to her, and later cornered her in a hotel room in a scene that is eerliy like the ones described in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial. She testified: “He closed the hotel room door and stood in front of it and started taking off his belt. He said something like, ‘I know you want it.’ I was so scared – I thought I wouldn’t get out alive.” Lyles allegedly told her: “I like big assess.”

According to a fourth woman who served on SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board, Lyles allegedly “stuck his hand under my shirt and groped my breast” on an elevator inside SEIU-UHW’s office in Commerce, California.

A former male staffer at SEIU-UHW alleges that he saw “Dave Regan drunk in meetings, including brainstorming meetings relating to the Get Healthy California Campaign that UHW was involved in. I saw Mr. Regan reach under or into his desk for a liquor bottle. He used to keep a liquor bottle in his desk.”

He also alleges that Regan “is a notorious ‘boob gazer,’ meaning he would stare at women’s breasts. One member, [name deleted], told me that she had to tell Mr. Regan, ‘Dave, my eyes are up here’ when he would be staring at her breasts.”  

More details to come.