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EXCLUSIVE: Mendoza Accuser Adriana Ruelas’ History Includes Retaliation Lawsuit Against Different Employer

State Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia).

 

By Brian Hews
Thursday Jan. 11, 2018 5:04 p.m.

Last week, Adriana Ruelas, longtime Capitol employee and former legislative director for State Senator Tony Mendoza, filed a “right to sue” discrimination complaint against Mendoza, the California Senate and two legislative officials. The complaint alleges that she was retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment by Mendoza.

Ruelas filed her complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, a necessary preliminary step the state requires before initiating a lawsuit.

Ruelas’ letter went to the state Senate, Mendoza, Secretary of the Senate Danny Alvarez and the head of the Senate’s Human Resource Department, Jeannie Oropeza.

The complaint alleges that she, along with two others, was fired in September “after they complained to superiors” about Mendoza’s inappropriate behavior toward a young woman assigned to his Sacramento office through a Sacramento State fellows program.

Secretary of the Senate Daniel Alvarez disputed Ruelas’ statement and timeline in a written statement he sent to the Sacramento Bee.

Alvarez told the Bee, “One complaint by a terminated employee triggered an immediate investigation which has been ongoing since September 22nd.” Alvarez did not confirm that Ruelas was the terminated employee, though.

Adriana Ruelas

What is known is that Ruelas and two others were put on leave Sept. 22 and then fired on Sept. 30.

Secretary Alvarez partially disputed Ruelas account, saying, “Prior to that date [Sept. 22], no allegation was ever made to anyone at Senate Rules regarding misconduct on behalf of the Senator [Mendoza].” It is not apparent whether the “superiors” Ruelas says she lodged her complaints with were within the Senate Rules committee hierarchy or elsewhere in her management structure.

Now, a HMG-CN investigation has discovered that Ruelas has another disputed retaliation lawsuit underway simultaneously against another former state employer agency.

Court documents obtained exclusively by HMG-CN show that Ruelas recently filed a lawsuit against California’s Alcoholic Beverage and Control (ABC) for “retaliation, whistleblower retaliation, and failure to prevent retaliation.”

 

 

 

 

Click on image to view lawsuit.

 

 

Her attorneys for the ABC lawsuit are the Bohm Law Group in Sacramento while her attorney for the Mendoza case is Micah Star Liberty of Liberty Law based out of Oakland.

Similar to the Mendoza complaint, Ruelas alleged the offenses were carried out by her superiors.

In a move that is certain to raise questions about whether the ABC complaint stemmed from Ruelas’ intentions to deliver a political payback, the 23-page lawsuit was filed on Oct 13, 2017, just two weeks after Ruelas was fired from her Mendoza post.

Even more suspect, Ruelas waited for three months – “after going through hell for three years”- after she received the July 2017 right to sue [the ABC] letter.

Worked for ABC 2013-2016

Ruelas began working for ABC in January 2013. She claimed in her lawsuit that, after Sept. 2013 when Timothy Gorsuch was hired, she was “subjected to years of racist, sexist and homophobic abuse.”

She formally complained and was “immediately labelled a ‘pot stirrer’ and troublemaker” and alleged further “coworkers I complained about made it their mission to drive me out of the department.”

Ruelas said it got so bad she had to take medical leave on Aug 27, 2016. and was “forced to resign” on Oct 14, 2016.

Even though she claimed severe emotional stress and depression, Ruelas did not waste time and soon secured another government position in Mendoza’s office.

Just days after her resignation from ABC, in fact, she was hired before the month elapsed by Mendoza’s chief of staff, Eusevio Padilla.

According to Mendoza, Padilla never shared Ruelas’ previous employment issues with him.

During her employment with Mendoza, Ruelas continued to secretly file complaints with different agencies related to her ABC-retaliation claim.

Ruelas inquired about an investigation into her complaints on Dec. 8, 2016, filed a complaint with the California Government Claims Programs April 5, 2017, and filed another complaint with the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency on April 24, 2017

Ruelas eventually “exhausted her procedural remedies” and filed a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. She received notice from FEH giving her the right to sue in a letter sent July 2017.

For unknown reasons, despite three months to act, Ruelas chose to file the ABC lawsuit days after she was dismissed by Mendoza.

Now Ruelas has embarked on another possible retaliation lawsuit, filing a right to sue letter Jan. 3, 2018 against Mendoza, the California Senate and two legislative officials.

HMG-CN left messages with Alvarez and texted Ruelas for comment, Alvarez did not respond.

Ruelas directed HMG-CN to her current attorney Micah Star Liberty who did not want to comment on the cases.

[email protected]

@cerritosnews

Story use by attribution only please!

 

 

 

 

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Truth to Power
Guest
Truth to Power

Oops, I meant “Reprimanded” not “reprehended”

Truth to Power
Guest
Truth to Power

So what is your point Brian Hews. Mendoza’s accusers have called out bad behavior in the past. Isn’t that a good thing? Are you trying to shame truth tellers? The stories about him sound very accurate and It’s starting look like Tony Mendoza is just another Harvey Weinstein. This is exactly what has been happening to women for years; someone in power sees an opportunity to harass women confident that the system will do nothing. I can understand the disbelief in one woman; but three!!! I wonder how many more are still out there, who are still employed at the… Read more »

OMG
Guest
OMG

Hey Dummy Truth: Hews isn’t endorsing Mendoza’s behavior, no where does it say that. But you are a fucking Hews hater, and he wears that badge well. Is this Leticia Vasquez? Vanessa DelGado? RUELAS? DELEON? Hews has many haters because of his brave reporting. The article DISCREDITS Ruelas and Padilla, two of Mendoz’as accusers. I guess its ok with you that people lie to their employers? (Padilla did not tell Mendoza about Ruelas ABC lawsuit) And they turn around and sue them? Or you like that someone sues every employer they work for “retaliation.” ….grow a fucking brain dummy, this… Read more »

Truth to Power
Guest
Truth to Power

I suggest you take a deep breath, take your meds, and calm down.
The ABC lawsuit has nothing to do with these 3 women coming out! If it does, I certainly welcome your wisdom on this…
Did Ruelas cause Mendoza to be a perv or did he get rid of her because she was raising flags about his inappropriate behavior? I think it’s the latter…
Or maybe she was becoming an obstacle in his “Late Night” intern meetings.
As far as Deleon, I question his judgment in choosing to be Mendoza’s roommate. He pretty much sealed his own fate…just like Mendoza!

OMG
Guest
OMG

I assure you I am quite calm. It is you who needs to take intelligence pills. Hews’ article is about Ruelas lawsuit (whom you obviously know, or might be Ruelas herself) and how she sues every employer she leaves. She is accusing Mendoza of retaliation related to the woman you keep bringing into the picture yet told no one about her ongoing lawsuit with ABC. No where does Hews dispute the 3 woman’s stories he is pointing out Ruelas’ litigious history and how she just might be lying about the fellow’s statements Is that too hard to understand? GROW A… Read more »

BS Detector
Guest
BS Detector

Cause Mendoza to be a “Perv”?? “Late Night” intern meetings? Where’s proof of either?? I wonder if TRUTH TO POWER has ever heard of FAKE NEWS?

OMG
Guest
OMG

Agreed, the Sac Bee story is full of “sources that won’t come forward” or “former staffers who are afraid to lose their job,” as witnesses to the Mendoza “perv.” Dummy truth obviously has skin in the game and throws out FAKE NEWS while Hews, as usual, documents his stories.

Common Sense Dude
Guest
Common Sense Dude

Tell me this woman isn’t someone like Cristina Garcia didn’t put up to this? This is exactly how woman get ahead these days..they either use their charms to move up or sue when they overestimate their charms. Yes the playing feel isn’t equal but neither is the commitment or performance of these woman. Sorry if the truth hurts ladies.

Stopthisnonsense
Guest
Stopthisnonsense

No offense taken. I say prove it. Senator MENDOZA doesn’t always share my personal opinions on issues but I’ve known him long enough to know that these accusations are far fetched. We 80’s ladies, single mothers , and women in non traditional roles do not appreciate getting ahead this way. We’ve worked through challenges, obstacles, and raised our families without stepping over others. I dont know or understand these accisations. In my day a guy did something you didn’t like, you popped him four in the choppers and you were done. Stop throwing away what We women worked for and… Read more »