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Imperial Deputy Reinstated After Termination

Posted on Sunday, September 01, 1996 at 12:00PM

Imperial County deputy sheriff Jessie Loera was reinstated to his position as a deputy with full back pay and benefits following a three-day hearing before the County Employment Appeals Board.

Loera was the subject of allegations that he made remarks constituting sexual harassment and was untruthful and dishonest when he denied committing those acts. The department called seven witnesses followed by seven witnesses called by the appellant.

Loera consistently and adamantly denied all of the allegations. Deputy Loera had been with the department 16 years and had received favorable evaluations and dozens of commendations for outstanding performance.

During the course of the hearing, evidence revealed that a significant number of employees in the department had never received any sexual harassment training. The County Affirmative Action officer testified extensively on the topic of sexual harassment and why training is needed.

The Appeals Board concluded that they were not convinced that Loera was untruthful when denying the alleged acts. They also declined to give more weight to unsworn and uncorroborated allegations of a complainant (who didn’t testify) then to Loera who was regarded as veteran officer with a good reputation.

The board also found that the lack of sexual harassment training would account for a difference in perspectives between several of the complainants who had received the training and Loera who had not received any training.

As a consequence the board found that reasonable misinterpretation could have occurred.

In conclusion, the Appeals Board did order Loera to be fully restored to his position with full pay and benefits retroactive to his last day of employment (over three months back pay).

The board also directed the department to provide Loera with appropriate stress counseling and interpersonal relations counseling including sexual harassment training.

The board did take special note to commend the sheriff for his efforts in aggressively seeking to eliminate all forms of sexual harassment and maintaining sensitivity toward any perceptions of dishonesty.

Loera was represented by Richard Castle of the panel firm of Castle & Krause.

PORAC Legal Defense Administrator Ed Fishman Testimony: Law Enforcement Use of Body Cameras.