Politics

Sexual Harassment Complaint Filed Against Felix Arroyo Jr.

The complaint also names Mayor Marty Walsh and the city of Boston.

A female employee of the city of Boston has filed a complaint against Felix G. Arroyo, Mayor Marty Walsh, Arroyo’s chief of staff Ilyitch Nahiely Tabora, and the city of Boston alleging sexual harassment, retaliation on the basis of her sex and gender, and a hostile workplace. Arroyo is the head of health and human services in the Walsh administration, and was placed on administrative leave July 28.

The complaint, which the woman provided to the Boston Globe, alleges that Arroyo made sexual comments to her and “grabbed my bottom on several occasions and spanked it frequently.” The situation apparently continued for some time, and the woman says that sometimes she did not say anything “because he was my boss”, and that when she did say something, “the behavior stopped and most communications ceased for two to three months at a time.”

She claims he started behaving inappropriately again on July 24, at which point she complained to human resources. She says her meeting with human resources appeared on her calendar, and Arroyo and Tabora could see the meeting on there. Half an hour after it showed up, Arroyo brought her into his office and “said things like ‘you wouldn’t want to hurt me because you wouldn’t want me to hurt you, right?’” When she got up to leave, she says he “grabbed the back of my neck and squeezed it very hard.”

She ultimately ended up meeting with both a human resources official and Dan Koh, the mayor’s chief of staff, to discuss the issues she was seeing, and said that after her correspondence with Koh, Arroyo was suspended the next day. But after that, Vivian Leonard, the director of human resources for the city, told her that she was being transferred to the Public Facilities Department, which she felt was a demotion, and which she thinks wouldn’t have happened without Walsh’s approval.

Tabora, meanwhile, allegedly made life very difficult for the woman during the stretches when she’d gotten Arroyo to stop his behavior, giving her “unreasonable deadlines” and assigning her “projects that led to nowhere.”

A spokeswoman told the Globe, “Chief Arroyo is adamant that these allegations are baseless and retaliatory,” while the city’s communications chief called the allegations “intolerable and disturbing,” and said “We take the safety and well-being of our employees very seriously and we are working to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible.”

Arroyo’s father has been on administrative leave since February from his job as Suffolk Register of Probate. The son had been a mayoral candidate before gaining a position with the Walsh administration.


Lisa Weidenfeld Digital Senior Editor at Boston Magazine lweidenfeld@bostonmagazine.com


In This Section

Policy

Policy

Marijuana legalization, healthcare changes, and all the other referendums shaking up Mass.

Beyond Boston

Beyond Boston

Could You Be Owed Money?