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State Senate oversight unit wants to be removed as defendant from harassment suit against Sen. Bob Archuleta

November 20, 2023

By Brian Hews

The state unit that investigates discrimination, harassment and retaliation complaints involving members of the Legislature is seeking to be dismissed as a defendant in a woman’s lawsuit that also alleges 78-year-old state Sen. Bob Archuleta sexually harassed her when she worked for him as a district director.

The woman is identified only as Jane Doe in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, which also names as defendants the state Workplace Conduct Unit, the Senate Rules Committee and Don Wilcox, Archuleta’s chief of staff. The original lawsuit was filed March 2021

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, LCCN learned from several sources that the Jane Doe in the Archuleta harassment lawsuit was the senator’s former District Director Friné Medrano.

Frine Medrano

LCCN attempted to contact Medran several times in 2021 without response; since the 2021 article, Medrano has not contacted LCCN to refute the sources’ identification.

Medrano alleged whistleblower retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and various state Labor Code violations.

In a statement Archuleta said that the allegations are “completely and categorically false.”

“My entire career, I have supported the right of every Californian to feel safe, valued and protected in the workplace,” the statement read. “While I would never knowingly mistreat or disrespect a female employee, I believe in their absolute right to come forward and be heard if and when they believe that standard has been violated.

Every voice has value. That’s why, from the beginning, I fully and wholeheartedly cooperated with the Senate’s independent investigation into the events in question and was prepared to stand by the outcome. It’s unfortunate for everyone involved that those independent proceedings were interrupted by this lawsuit.”

One source told HMG-CN that Medrano could be seen at several public events attempting to grab Archuleta’s arm and hand, with Archuleta immediately admonishing and brushing her off.

I told Bob she [Medrano] was trouble,” said one source, a close friend who who attended several Archuleta public events.

Another source told HMG-CN that the “Rubio sisters are mad that Archuleta did not endorse a family candidate, and now they want to take his seat.”

In 2018, Medrano ran for the 58th Assembly district but lost to perennial candidate Cristina Garcia; she also ran for Downey City Council in 2016 and lost.

Of interest is that Medrano was selected as a delegate by Archuleta in January 2019, included on a slate that beat Cristina Garcia’s slate.

Also on her Linkedin account, Medrano listed herself as an employee at Archuleta’s office.

Screenshot taken Saturday March 20, 2021

Archuleta said, “the lawsuit manufactures a whole new layer of gratuitous allegations, which were not raised until litigation was chosen as the way to go — and which are completely and categorically false. I look forward now to disproving those allegations in court.”

In court papers filed Tuesday with Judge Joseph Lipner, WCU attorneys maintain the unit is not liable for the lone cause of action filed against it alleging failure to prevent discrimination.

The WCU is a division of the Legislative Counsel Bureau and was created to provide advice and investigation services to the Legislature related to workplace misconduct.

A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 30, 2024.