A sexual relationship between a City Hall manager and an employee is at risk of being outlawed under proposed legislation that is seen as a veiled reference to Mayor Gavin Newsom’s acknowledgment earlier this year that he had a sexual affair with his former appointment secretary.
Supervisor Chris Daly, who introduced the legislation, has denied that it’s a “swipe” at Newsom, and said he is calling it a “pro-worker piece of legislation.”
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd questioned the need for it, given the current laws on the books, while Supervisor Tom Ammiano made a few quips about it during Thursday’s Board of Supervisors Rules Committee hearing. In the end, the committee decided to send the legislation to the full board for a vote on Election Day.
The legislation would prohibit managers from pursuing a sexual or romantic relationship with an employee under their watch. A violation could result in job termination. If the legislation is adopted, any manager in such a relationship is required to report it within 10 days, when The City would take actions to make sure the employee is no longer directly reporting to the manager.
Daly said that the legislation could help draw down the amount of money The City pays out in sexual-harassment or sexual-discrimination lawsuits. During the last five years, The City has paid out $1.675 million to settle such lawsuits involving a manager and an employee, Daly said.
“With the sexual harassment laws currently on the books, the addition of this protects The City how? I’m not quite getting how this helps us any further,” Elsbernd said.
“I feel a little creepy about it, frankly,” Ammiano said.
Nathan Ballard, Newsom’s spokesman, said the legislation is “just another Chris Daly stunt where he is taking a swipe at his obsession, Gavin Newsom.” He added, “San Francisco is a live-and-let-live kind of place. Chris Daly has no business meddling in anybody’s love life.”