According to a letter distributed to research center staff at the University of California, Los Angeles, in March, some men working at the Alzheimer’s disease research laboratory, part of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, created hostile conditions for three female workers. An outside investigator had been brought in to address allegations of discrimination and found that the harassment had been going on for 10 years.

The report based on the investigation was released in October 2014. It stated that in addition to a general climate of distrust, the women were poorly treated. Among other things, they were retaliated against for reporting deviations from protocol in research studies. The investigation found that the men were in violation of campus rules regarding harassment and discrimination. The vice dean for faculty at the university said that the conditions at the lab undermined research. A spokesperson for the school said she was unable to comment on the situation.

Individuals who feel they have faced workplace discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, sex, religion, disability or national origin among other characteristics may wish to begin by trying to handle the problem internally. This appears to be what occurred at UCLA. However, if they are not satisfied with the way their workplace deals with their concerns, they may wish to speak with an attorney.

An employment law attorney might be able to examine the situation and suggest how the employee might best deal with the issue. For example, employees might need to gather more documentation to strengthen their claim. Those who are affected may wish to file a claim with the appropriate state or federal agency against the company in order to recoup lost wages or regain a position they have lost.