LOCAL L.A. Now

Gloria Allred says Filner case should be warning to elected officials

SAN DIEGO -- Attorney Gloria Allred, who filed the sexual harassment lawsuit that led to the resignation of Mayor Bob Filner, said Tuesday the case should be a warning to other elected officials nationwide not to harass their employees.

Allred made the comment at a news conference, sitting beside her client Irene McCormack Jackson, who served as Filner's director of communications. Jackson was the first woman to publicly accuse Filner of sexual harassment.

The lawsuit was settled Monday with the City Council agreeing to pay $250,000 to settle all claims, including legal fees and damages.

Officials have to realize they are employers and must comply with laws meant to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, Allred said.

"There are many Irenes out there [nationally] and they won't be silenced anymore," Allred said.

Filner resigned Aug. 30 amid accusations from more than 20 women that he had subjected them to unwanted physical advances and lewd comments.

Jackson, 57, told reporters that after months of a "hostile work environment" she had concluded that, "this man cannot be mayor. It's just wrong."

Jackson thanked family members, former Councilwoman Donna Frye, and Allred, "this defender of women."

She also thanked the women who, after her lawsuit was filed July 22, "followed me into the spotlight."

From the beginning, the lawsuit was not about money but rather forcing Filner out of office, Jackson indicated.

Jackson is set to leave city employment on April 1, by her own choice. A longtime journalist and then a communications official with the San Diego Port District, Jackson said she is unclear what kind of job she may have in the future.

Asked what she would say to Filner is she happened to see him, "I wouldn't speak to him," Jackson said.

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tony.perry@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATsandiego

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