Julio Perez, the executive director of the Orange County Central Labor Council, is under an internal investigation following public allegations that he sexually harassed an intern nine years ago, according to a report by the Voice of OC.
“So as a woman who leads a union in the Orange County labor movement, and that’s an affiliate union to the OC Labor Federation, I have been working since this information came out on making sure that the Labor Federation takes these allegations seriously,” [Orange County Employees Association General Manager Jennifer Muir] Beuthin said. “And that we conduct a thorough investigation that will result in taking appropriate action when that inquiry is done.”
Beuthin was a high-profile critic of former Santa Ana Councilman Carlos Bustamante, who was convicted of gross sexual misconduct while a senior manager with the County of Orange. Last year, she blasted then-candidate Donald Trump over his comments about sexual harassment lawsuits filed against Fox News:
The commentators’ argument – and Trump’s argument – is essentially that women who are beautiful and wear skirts to work are inviting inappropriate comments and more. And if they don’t like how they’re being treated, they can move on. Or dress differently.
This is the type of wrong thinking that has perpetuated sexual assaults and harassment across our nation and the world, harassment that has particularly rocked our county workforce, and that I have personally experienced throughout my career.
First, the idea that the way a woman or man dresses somehow invites harassment is wrong for two reasons: The way we dress doesn’t invite or deter harassment at all. Harassment happens indiscriminately. And if wearing something more frumpy would make it stop, trust me, women across the county would line up to buy turtlenecks and mom jeans.
More importantly, talking about how the victim dresses or looks focuses responsibility on the wrong person. It is not the victim’s fault he or she was harassed. The blame lies squarely with the men (and women) who do the harassing.
Finally, most workers don’t have the luxury of just up and quitting their jobs when they face discrimination at the workplace. Too many are already struggling to make ends meet for their families as it is. So they endure.
When women came forward to report abuse – and thought their concerns would be taken seriously – they experienced how victims of harassment are too often treated when they stand up to those in power.
Beuthin is only one member of the OCLF Executive Board, and her union is the parent of the Anaheim Municipal Employees Association. Will the other members also support an investigation? OC Daily reached out to OCLF President Gilberto Davila yesterday morning via e-mail with these questions regarding the former intern’s allegations:
- As president of the OC Labor Federation, do you have any comment on these allegations?
- Is the OC Labor Federation investigating these allegations or taking any action on them?
- Were you previously aware of allegations of such behavior by Mr. Perez?
OC Daily has received no reply, nor to our inquiry directly to Mr. Perez.
The OCLF does not list the names of any other members of its board.
In the case of Carlos Bustamante, Beuthin called for an outside investigation by the state Attorney General. Will she or other members of the OCLF Executive Board also bring in an outside investigator to look into the allegations against Perez?
Thus far, there has been radio silence from the OCLF and its affiliated unions, as well as from Mr. Perez’s political allies. Perez is a close friend and ally of Councilman Jose F. Moreno, and currently serves on Moreno’s Homeless Policy Working Group.