Investigating Sexual Harassment
In early 2008, credit union attorney, William Adler, ordered Priority One Credit Union's Board of Directors to initiate an investigation of President Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. to determine if he had sexually harassed the former Assistant Branch Manager of the Los Angeles branch in the years while she worked at the main branch in South Pasadena, in the capacity of a Real Estate Loan Officer.
The credit union hired the services of EXTTI, Inc., a business consultant firm that also conducts investigations of allegations of wrong doing reported by credit union employees.
EXTTI, Inc. conducted an approximate six-week investigation, during which some employees of the South Pasadena and Los Angeles branches were interviewed to obtain testimonies of whether the President may have sexually harassed a former employee. During their investigation, President Wiggington was placed on paid suspension pending the results of the inquest.
At the end of their investigation, EXTTI, Inc. submitted its findings to attorney, William Adler of Styskal, Wiese and Melchione, LLP and who personally delivered the findings to the credit union's Board of Directors.
A meeting convened at the main branch in South Pasadena to review the investigator's findings but Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, chose to tamper with the proceedings by only inviting Directors, O. Glen Saffold and Thomas Gathers and Supervisory Committee Chair, Cornelia Simmons, to attend and review the evidence.
Unbeknownst to the wily but not all together clever Board Chair, employees of the credit union called Director, Janice Irving, and informed her about the meeting which she had not been invited to attend. To the Board Chair's surprise and chagrin, Mrs. Irving arrived at the South Pasadena branch just prior to the start of the meeting with Director, Joe Marchica, in tow. In typical Harris-Brooks fashion, the Board Chair informed Mrs. Irving that she had not thought the purpose of the meeting sufficient important to call and invite the two other Directors.
A few days following the meeting, Mrs. Irving would reveal that the investigator presented evidence proving President Wiggington had indeed sexually harassed a former employee. What's more, the investigator recommend the President's immediate termination. Its important to note that the investigator is also an attorney.
However, in spite of the evidence produced by the investigator and with consideration to his recommendation the President be fired, Mrs. Harris-Brooks, with the help of her posy, Mr. Saffold, Mr. Gathers, and Ms. Simmons, urged President Wiggington's reinstatement. When it came time to vote whether or not he would be reinstated, the vote was 4 to 2, with Mrs. Harris-Brooks and the three other officers succeeding in winning the President's return.
EXTTI, Inc.'s webpage is www.extti.com. Here is the biography of the investigator, Scott I. Barer.
Mr. Barer is the former Chief Labor and Employment Attorney for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and joined EXTTI in 2005.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies in 1979 from UCLA and in 1989 obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Marymount University Law School.
From 1976-1989, Mr. Barer worked in a variety of positions in television news, including as Manager of News Operations for KTLA News.
After receiving his Juris Doctor degree, he worked as an Associate at Ballard, Rosenberg and Golper where he practiced labor and employment Law.
In 1991, Mr. Barer joined the Beverly Hills law firm of Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman, LLP as an Associate in the Labor and Employment Law Department. In 1998 he was elected to the partnership of that firm. He is an expert in the following areas of investigation:
- Expert witness testimony and consulting in sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination and other employment related litigation
- Training in these same areas
- Investigation of claims of harassment, discrimination, and employee misconduct (including "Cotran" investigations).
Certainly Mr. Barer was more than qualified ot conduct an investigation of the allegations leveled against President Wiggington and he was experienced and knowledgeable enough to identify that Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. not only sexually harassed a former employee but poses a threat to other employees and may prove problematic to the credit union as an employer. Despite his expertise, Diedra Harris-Brooks chose to ignore and invalidate the evidence and instead, recalled a President who should have been terminated for violating credit union policies and state and federal laws.