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Former State Worker Alleges Sexual Harassment In Lawsuit

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Allegations of raunchy sex talk and inappropriate behavior inside the state office of Parks and Recreation is the basis of a sexual harassment suit.

A former state worker is suing the state and an ex-boss.

“I am a shy and reserved person,” Rene Velasquez told CBS13 when discussing the incident on Tuesday.

Velasquez says what she heard from one of her bosses has her filing suit.

Manuel Lopez worked as the deputy director of administration. In the lawsuit Rene claims he “appeared intoxicated discussing sex .. and women injured when having sex.”

She says this “created an oppressive, hostile, intimidating and/or offensive work environment.”

“I let him know it made me uncomfortable,” she said.

But when she tried to go to the higher-ups, she says women who had made complaints were called “crazy, troublemakers.”

“You’ve got everyone above clicking together,” she said. “You don’t have much power.”

Three days after Rene got back from her own disability leave, she lost her job managing workers compensation and discrimination cases for the state.

“I was a real advocate for people with disabilities,” she said. “Once I got terminated, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was in complete shock for a while.”

Rene thinks the bosses were just looking for a reason to get rid of her.

The Parks and Recreation Department won’t talk about a pending lawsuit, but confirmed Lopez resigned in May after seven years on the job. They won’t say why because it’s a personnel issue.

“I have five kids, I’m married, I lost my job,” she said. “It’s very tough.”

But this is a battle she says is worth fighting.

“I wanted things to change, and that’s when I decided to get an attorney and take it a step further, so this doesn’t happen to any more people.”

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