Friday, August 11, 2017
City Attorney’s Human Relations Director Ordered to Stay 10 Yards From Deputy
By a MetNews Staff Writer
ONICA VALLE COLE
Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney
Deputy City Attorney Onica Cole, a declared candidate for a judgeship on the Los Angeles Superior Court in next year’s election, has obtained a temporary restraining order requiring that the office’s human resources director, Cristina Sarabia, stay at least 10 yards away from her.
The order will remain in effect until Aug. 29 when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu, who issued the TRO on Tuesday, will decide whether to issue a permanent order.
Cole, who came in last in a five-person Superior Court race last year, claimed in an unsworn declaration attached to her request for a TRO that on or about Aug. 7, 2015, she slipped and fell in a parking lot next to City Hall East, where the City Attorney’s Office is located, and that ever since, Sarabia has subjected her to harassment, including the commission of an assault on her and falsely imprisoning her.
In describing the alleged assault and false imprisonment, said to have occurred on May 30, the deputy city attorney recounted that Sarabia and four others in the office with higher authority came to her cubicle. She said of Sarabia:
“She insisted on speaking with me at this time, demanding to know what I had done at work that day, in a very nasty and intimidating tone. She carried on the conversation for at least ten minutes, my head was cocked to the side cradling the phone as I was still on the phone. This resulted in an injury to my back and neck which resulted in me being off work for at least six weeks. Cristina Sarabia moved past [unit supervisor] Ben Karabian, entered the space of the cubicle I was working in, and started poking her finger in my face. I was afraid she was going to hit me.”
Cole went on to claim:
“I stayed on the telephone this entire time, never leaving it, for fear that I would be physically confronted by the group and/or Cristina Sarabia. I am not sure how I ended up facing Cristina Sarabia, but I suspect she grabbed the back of the chair I was seating in, in frustration that I continued with my telephone call, forcing me to face her and strain my body even further. While I tried my best to diffuse the situation, Cristina Sarabia was clearly out of control and angry. I am not sure if she was trying to provoke a physical confrontation. I was afraid and thought it best to stay in my chair.”
In her declaration, Cole contends that Sarabia has carried out harassment by “1) yelling and raising her voice at me; 2) demanding that I attend meetings with little or no time to obtain a union representative or any idea of the substance of the meeting; 3) docking my pay claiming that I inappropriately walked out of a meeting; 4) initiating a series of ‘investigations’ meant to prevent me for pursuing my personal ambition to seek an appointment as a judge; and (5) Bullying my treating physician to obtain private medical information.”
She accused Sarabia of causing her to be moved from a private office with a window to the cubicle and caused her ergonomic equipment to be removed and stored in a location unknown to her.
Sarabian did not respond to a request for comment.
Copyright 2017, Metropolitan News Company