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By John Kristensen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Employment Law -- Employee on Sunday, March 26, 2017.
Kristensen LLP Sues UC Regents & Prof. John Searle for Sexual Harassment and Assault

(If you know of other incidents involving Prof. John Searle, please contact us, as others have.)

Los Angeles, CA – Kristensen LLP announced, on behalf of their client, Joanna Ong, a former University of California at Berkeley (Cal) student, that they filed a complaint for damages and a demand for a jury trial, alleging that a Cal professor of philosophy, John Searle sexually assaulted and harassed Ong while she was employed by the University and that, despite her reporting of the actions, no action was taken to protect Ong from further illegal conduct by the professor. In response to Ong’s complaints, the University retaliated against the young woman.

The complaint, filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda (Joanna Ong, Plaintiff vs The Regents of the University of California; and Professor John Searle; et al) is for damages resulting from Sexual Harassment – Quid Pro Quo; Sexual Harassment – Hostile Work Environment; Retaliation in violation of FEHA; Wrongful Termination Against Public Policy; and Assault & Battery.

The complaint, filed on March 21st, 2017 alleges that the Plaintiff (Ong) was employed at U.C. Berkeley as a research assistant to John Searle, a professor in the philosophy department, as well as a consultant for the John Searle Center for Social Ontology, he sexually assaulted her and then continued to harass her as her employment continued, creating a hostile work environment. Although the plaintiff rejected Searle’s sexual advances and reported the assault and harassment to Searle Center’s Director, Jennifer Hudin, and others employed by U.C. Berkeley, no action was taken to address the assault or protect the plaintiff from further illegal conduct by Searle.

The complaint also alleges that U.C. Berkeley was well aware of Searle’s prior similar behavior with other young women, including but not limited to his students and research assistants. Instead, the complaint continues, the defendants took steps protect and cover up Searle’s assault and harassment of the Plaintiff, as they had done in Searle’s past history of similar conduct to other students and employees at U.C. Berkeley. The defendants subsequently retaliated against the Plaintiff.

“This is another example of the University of California standing idly by as their students or employees are victimized by indifference to the predatory faculty,” said plaintiff’s attorney John Kristensen. “There is a crisis of sexual assault on women at our nation’s institutions of higher learning. My client had to suffer twice. First, when the assault and subsequent harassment took place. Then again when she reported the misconduct and the responses were; at best, indifference, and at worst, enabling of the inappropriate sexual conduct that led to her original assault.”

Kristensen LLP recently obtained a record $1.15 million dollar settlement from the UC Regents in another matter.

If you have information regarding Professor Searle or how UC Berkeley retaliates and fails to investigate claims of sexual assault and sexual harassment, please contact us at (310) 507-7924 or