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Former Cal State LA employee faces countersuit from university


A former Cal State Los Angeles administrator who filed a sexual harassment case against the university and ex-athletic director Mike Garrett is herself being sued by the CSU Board of Trustees and three CSULA employees, who allege she secretly recorded conversations with them in 2016.

The suit filed May 26 against former CSULA senior associate athletic director Sheila Hudson in Los Angeles Superior Court seeks statutory damages of at least $30,000, plus unspecified actual, special and punitive damages, on allegations of invasion of privacy and violation of a provision of the state Penal Code.

The individual plaintiffs are Susan Varela, CSULA’s associate vice president for human resources management; Mariel Mulet, the university’s director of equity, diversion and inclusion and the school’s Title IX coordinator; and Daryl Gross, the university’s current athletics director.

Hudson’s lawyer, Nancy Abrolat, did not immediately respond to a request for comment,

Hudson sued CSULA and Garrett in August 2016 in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging employment violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The Hudson suit also alleges that Garrett lacked many capabilities necessary to do his job as CSULA’s athletic director, a position he held for about a year. The former USC and NFL football star previously held the same title at his alma mater.

According to the Hudson suit, Garrett referred to female employees, including Hudson, as “Babe,” “Sweetheart,” “Love” and “Legs” during his relatively brief tenure as the CSULA athletic director. He left the university in 2016.

The Hudson complaint further states that Garrett had other shortcomings and began delegating his job responsibilities “onto the female employees in the athletic department, increasing their workload, but not their compensation.”

Hudson worked for the school from October 2002 until May 24, according to the CSULA suit. During a fifth day of depositions in her own case on April 14, Hudson admitted she recorded conversations with the three individual plaintiffs as well as one with Jose Gomez, CSULA’s executive vice president and CEO, who is not a plaintiff, the suit alleges.

“Hudson also testified she took the recordings on her personal cellular telephone,” the CSULA lawsuit alleges. “Hudson did not tell the plaintiffs she was recording the conversations and did not ask for the individual plaintiffs’ or Gomez’s consent.”

The first recorded conversation occurred in March 2016 between Hudson, Varela and Mulet, when “confidential sensitive personnel issues, including workplace complaints and staff evaluations, took place, the university’s complaint alleges.

The second conversation Hudson allegedly recorded occurred later in March 2016 and involved Varelta, Mulet and Gomez, the suit states. The meeting was held behind closed doors in a small human resources room and included discussions of complaints by some student-athletes against their peers, according to the CSULA suit.

The last conversation at issue happened last August when Hudson and Gross conversed about personnel issues and the organization and division of responsibilities within the school athletics department, according to the suit.

During a hearing on the Hudson case on May 23, Judge Rafael Ongkeko granted a CSULA request for $6,670 in sanctions against Hudson and her attorney, finding there was no justification for the recordings. The judge stayed enforcement of his order until further notice by the court.