City admits employee was sexually harassed, then suspends her for inappropriate comments

Accuser, accused receive 5-day suspensions after July incident at Maverick Park

By Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - City of San Antonio human resources records obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders show that a female Parks and Recreation Department employee was suspended last month after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a male co-worker.

The employee, who KSAT 12 is not naming, was handed a five-day suspension September 18 after a city investigation determined she made inappropriate comments while at work.

The woman used accrued leave to cover the five days, city records show.

The suspension length was identical to what was handed to senior equipment operator Trinidad Becerra, who admitted to investigators that on July 5 he told the woman, "eres de todos," which roughly translated from Spanish means "you are everyone's."

Becerra, who also used accrued leave instead of serving the suspension, admitted to city investigators that he had also brought up a previous relationship the woman had with a co-worker.

The comments, which records indicate implied that she has had sex with everyone, were made in front of multiple other Parks and Recreation employees at Maverick Park and left the female employee extremely upset.

In a formal sexual harassment complaint filed 12 days later, the woman said Becerra directed sexual comments at her for 20 years and that she had repeatedly shot down his advances.

City officials on Friday declined to make Parks and Recreation Director Xavier Urrutia available for an interview to discuss why the accuser and the accused received the same length of punishment.

Parks and Recreation Special Projects Manager Whitney Atkins instead released the following statement via email:

The two 5-day suspensions are independent of each other and not matching.  Mr. Becerra’s discipline was based on a founded sexual harassment complaint. 

Through the course of the investigation on Mr. Becerra, it was reported and founded that (redacted) partook in the same behavior regarding another employee.  (Redacted) acknowledged her actions and accepted an agreed to discipline and waived her right to appeal. In both cases, the department evaluates the severity of the action, the employee’s record and applies progressive discipline to allow employees the opportunity to correct behavior.  

City officials late Friday afternoon, an hour before the news story aired on television, released statements from the two employees and co-workers who were present during the July 5 incident.

Becerra and a second co-worker recalled a previous incident during which the woman had said a male co-worker was sexually inadequate.

Her personnel file includes minor past disciplinary action for tardiness and taking an early lunch.

She was described in an employee review last year as extremely dedicated and a hard worker.

 

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