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Investigation finds Casa Latina made various mistakes in handling of sexual misconduct claim

The Casa Latina Board of Directors met with protesters over the weekend to discuss their grievances.

SEATTLE — An investigation into Seattle nonprofit Casa Latina’s handling of a recent sexual misconduct claim has concluded and found various mistakes in how its leadership dealt with the report.

The nonprofit’s board of directors released a statement Tuesday along with the results of the third-party investigation.

“We now know that while the internal investigation process met HR guidelines, there were consequential missteps, at various levels, that reflect a lack of HR expertise. While we have corrected these missteps, the Board recognizes these errors were harmful to the individuals involved and to the organization,” the statement read in part.

Among the investigation's findings, consultants discovered that Casa Latina should have placed the employee accused of sexual harassment on paid administrative leave, offered paid time off to the victim and connected her with counseling services at its own expense.

The investigation also found that at the end of an internal review, the employee accused of sexual misconduct should have been terminated.

The controversy started in March, which is when the alleged victim said she told Casa Latina management and the Seattle Police Department that a superior had sexually harassed her.

However, feeling that she and her supporters were getting nowhere and that no action was taking place, workers at the nonprofit began protesting.

After the allegations became public in May, Casa Latina announced it had hired a consulting firm to investigate the incident and the organization's response.

Still, protests continued after the investigation began. Workers built a camp outside of the nonprofit’s building and even held a hunger strike, demanding that certain members of the Casa Latina leadership team be removed and that workers affected by the misconduct be compensated.

Now, according to the Casa Latina Board of Directors, the workers are being listened to and at least some of their demands are being met.

The board of directors and a delegation of the protesters were able to meet over the weekend and agree to a number of items. Among other things, the board agreed to pay compensation to four Casa Latina members who did not work while protesting, and both parties agreed to further mediation with help from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

The board said it is also increasing its involvement with Casa Latina’s operations, adding that it has placed both the executive director and the director of the nonprofit’s workers center on administrative leave.

Workers told the board that the hunger strike has ended and that the camp outside the nonprofit's building will be removed.