San Bernardino, CA – Mirna Cisneros, a former City of San Bernardino Senior Customer Service Representative under Mayor John Valdivia, was denied unemployment benefits after she quit due to ongoing sexual harassment by the Mayor. A judge ruled in favor of Ms. Cisneros during an appeals hearing last week after reviewing the facts and evidence surrounding the allegations against the Mayor.

claim was filed on February 13, 2020, that outlined details of the ongoing inappropriate behavior by Mayor Valdivia toward Ms. Cisneros. The City had failed to appropriately address the issues, despite numerous complaints and his dismissal of written warnings from administration.

The behavior was so egregious, it had significant impacts to her mental, emotional, and physical health. She ultimately had to quit after multiple failed attempts to seek protection and resolve the problems.

MIrna Cisneros doing a media interview
Mirna Cisernos speaking to a news reporter after a press conference in front of San Bernardino City Hall

In the appeals hearing decision, the Judge determined that Ms. Cisneros “has established good cause to voluntarily quit.” The decision also references the “repeated complaints to others, without sufficient response by the employer.” Based on those, as well as other factors, the department’s determination was reversed, deeming Ms. Cisneros qualified for benefits.

“I am very grateful that the judge reversed the decision after hearing and seeing the significant evidence. My client clearly had no choice but to quit after being subjected to the Mayor’s despicable conduct.”

Attorney Tristan Pelayes

Four separate lawsuits are now pending filing after being rejected by the City.