One of the women whose accusations of sexual harassment has prompted calls for San Diego's mayor to step down is “taking the next step,” according to her attorney.
Attorney Marco Gonzalez, one of the three longtime Filner supporters who publicly called for his resignation last week, represents at least one alleged victim.
On Monday, Gonzalez said he has a client who has worked in the mayor’s office for six months and witnessed a pattern of behavior that victimized women.
Gonzalez claims Mayor Filner asks a woman about a spouse or boyfriend, isolates her in an office or corner, holds her tightly in the so-called “Filner Headlock” and then kisses or touches the woman inappropriately.
Filner has publicly apologized for disrespecting women and at times intimidating them. In recent interviews and a newspaper op-ed he has described himself as "a hugger" and said that he needs to be more self-aware of his behavior.
However, the mayor has refused to sit down with NBC 7 News to discuss the more specific allegations and his decision not to step down. Mayor Filner has demanded his right to due process where the anonymous accusations will be formally investigated.
When asked if he has filed a claim with the City of San Diego, Gonzalez told NBC 7 that his client is taking the next step in the complaint process which is an investigation.
Claims are made in person or in writing to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The office has a team of investigators who have subpoena power and every claim is investigated, Gonzalez said, speaking only in generalities about the typical process not his specific case.
Sometimes it takes a number of months but it is all confidential.
If the EEOC finds validity, they will issue a "notice of a right to sue" letter.
Meanwhile, NBC 7 spoke with a woman who does not work with Filner but interacts with him almost every day. The woman, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing her job, described a pattern of behavior that mirrors the one described by the mayor's detractors Monday. Read her account here.
Ed. Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly linked to a government agency as handling sexual harassment claims similar to the one in this case. We regret the error.