WASHINGTON – A longtime aide to Sen. Kamala Harris resigned Wednesday after the Sacramento Bee asked him about a 2016 harassment lawsuit he settled for $400,000.
The lawsuit was filed by the former executive assistant for Larry Wallace on Dec. 30, 2016, when he was working at the California Department of Justice under then-Attorney General Kamala Harris, the Bee reported. Harris, a Democrat, had just been elected to the Senate and was preparing to begin her work in Washington.
“We were unaware of this issue and take accusations of harassment extremely seriously. This evening, Mr. Wallace offered his resignation to the senator and she accepted it,” Harris spokeswoman Lily Adams told USA TODAY in an email.
In her suit against the state Department of Justice, Danielle Hartley alleged that Wallace, a former Oakland police detective, “harassed and demeaned” her during her time as his assistant, which began in 2011, the Bee reported. She said he placed his printer under his desk and would ask her to get on her hands and knees to replace the paper or the ink on a daily basis.
Hartley claimed that Wallace often asked her to replace the paper in front of other male employees at the Division of Law Enforcement, according to the Bee. When she asked Wallace to move the printer, he refused.
The California Department of Justice denied Hartley’s claims, but Xavier Becerra, who was appointed to replace Harris, settled the lawsuit on May 16, 2017, for $400,000, the Bee reported. As part of the settlement, Hartley signed a non-disclosure agreement and agreed not to apply for a job at the Department of Justice again.
After Harris became a senator, Wallace became a senior adviser in her California office.
Harris, who appears to be considering a 2020 presidential run, has been a vocal proponent of the #MeToo movement. She introduced a bill in June to address workplace sexual harassment, which included a ban on employers requiring workers to agree to non-disclosure clauses.
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