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Lawsuit Filed Against University of California Over Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Claims

Updated: May 23


May 22, 2024


SANTA CRUZ – Today, a lawsuit was filed against the Regents of the University of California for failing to prevent sexual harassment and retaliation following a reported sexual assault at a work conference for foster youth. The lawsuit states that Jocelyn Fredell, a UC Santa Cruz employee, was retaliated against after reporting a sexual assault by a supervisor and was denied employment after being forced to be interviewed for her job by the person who sexually assaulted her. 

“They tried to dissuade me from reporting a supervisor who followed me back to my room and assaulted me,” said Jocelyn Fredell. “Then they forced me to interview with my attacker and denied me my dream job. This is not an institution that supports victims of sexual assault–they run a clinic in terrorizing them.”

According to court records, 27-year-old Jocelyn Fredell was hired by the University of Santa Cruz, California as the STARS (Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students) Student Affairs Specialist and Renaissance Scholars Program Coordinator in October 2022. The position was initially temporary, but as Fredell continued to flourish in her role she was strongly encouraged to apply for a permanent position. In early 2023, and at her employer’s urging, Fredell applied to two permanent positions with the Regents.

In March 2023, Fredell went on a work trip for foster youth in Santa Barbara with various employees from other University of California campuses statewide. On that trip, she was sexually assaulted by Joshua Solis, one of the supervisory staff members on the trip.  A few days after the assault, on March 24, 2023, Solis proceeded to say that he couldn’t tell anyone about Wednesday night because his girlfriend would be upset that he was drunk in a hotel room with two females and his guy friends would be upset that he was drunk in a hotel room with two females and didn’t end up having any sex.

The following week, Fredell notified her direct supervisor, Moya, of the sexual battery and requested to work remotely and not to be scheduled with Solis anymore. When Fredell told Moya that she wanted to report the battery, Moya questioned Fredell several times on if she was sure she wanted to report it. This caused Fredell to feel like Moya was trying to dissuade her from reporting.

On March 29, 2023, Fredell reported the sexual battery to the Regents directly because she felt as if Moya was attempting to dissuade her from reporting it and wouldn’t follow through with reporting it. That same week, Fredell had two job interviews set up for a permanent position in the office. Fredell asked Moya to remove Solis from both panel interviews. Moya declined, saying she was not able to.

Mr. Solis interviewed Ms. Fredell as part of the hiring committee and Ms. Fredell did not get either of the permanent positions she applied for. Her employment was terminated shortly thereafter. Mr. Solis remained employed for nearly a year following Ms. Fredell’s termination.

“The UC Regents' failure to take swift and decisive action to protect Jocelyn Fredell from her attacker reflects this institution’s cavalier attitude towards workplace safety,” said Maria Bourn, Jocelyn Fredell’s attorney. “Forcing her to be interviewed by her attacker for a job she wanted is a portrait of cruelty and contempt towards a victim of sexual assault. Never mind the fact that the UC Regents allowed this assailant to continue working with a group that is notoriously vulnerable to re-traumatization.”


Ashley Pellouchoud, Maria Bourn, and Tanya Gomerman are the attorneys representing Jocelyn Fredell.

Gomerman|Bourn and Associates specializes in employment law and personal injury cases. Since opening its doors in 2012, they have recovered well over $50 million for their clients. To learn more about Gomerman|Bourn and Associates,

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