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CULVER CITY : Commission Upholds Firing in Sexual Harassment Case

June 15, 1995|MARY MOORE

The Culver City Civil Service Commission last week concluded its longest case in 20 years when it upheld the firing of the city Fire Department's former chief mechanic.

Bob Lewis, 51, was fired in July following allegations of sexual harassment, racism and other charges. Lewis, who had worked for the city since 1986, appealed to the commission to get his job back.

The commission unanimously agreed to sustain 23 accusations against Lewis, from making sexually harassing and racist remarks to improperly using city property.

"It was clear a day or two after the hearings started that the commission was slanted toward the [Fire] Department," said Phillip Tangalakis, Lewis' attorney. "There was an obvious bias."

Lewis was fired after Eva Lopez, a cadet in the Culver City Fire Department, accused him of making derogatory racial and sexual comments in her presence. Lopez filed a complaint with the city and a separate civil lawsuit in Santa Monica Superior Court last August. The suit is scheduled for trial in May, 1996.

The commission also ruled last week that Lewis had allowed the open display of sexually explicit material on a public bulletin board in the department.

In its findings, the commission said Lewis conducted personal business on city time.

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