A former correctional officer has filed a suit against the County of Napa, and his former co-workers, alleging he suffered year-long anti-gay harassment, including having his coffee spit into, and the facility did nothing about it.
Dante Michelucci started working for Napa County's correctional facility in March 2007, initially employed as an "Extra-Hire Correctional Officer" before he was promoted to Correctional Officer and again to Field Training Officer, according to the court filing.
The harassment didn't start until 10 years later.
From 2017 to his eventual termination in 2018, Michelucci alleged in the suit that at least three named officers created a daily "hostile work environment" for him by calling him "gay", using anti-gay slur, making sexually explicit comments and hanging up photoshopped photos of him at a gay pride parade.
Director Lenard Vare, Sgt. Joseph Fallon and Brandon Kemp were the three officers named in the suit.
Michelucci reported the abuse to his supervisor, Lt. Wilson and her husband Sgt. James. But the incidents continued after Sgt. James rolled his eyes as he discussed workplace policy against bullying with staff in an October 2017 meeting, according to one staff member.
Director Vare continuously dismissed Michelucci's requests for assistance. Vare even attempted to tell Michelucci that he's just "stressed out" due to the deaht of his father and not the harassment, according to the court document.
The suit also alleged that the abuse was so pervasive that it impacted Michelucci mentally and physically, resulting in a physical attack of Bell's Palsy (a form of temporary facial paralysis resulting from damage or trauma) and eventually his physician put him on family medical leave.
The result of the year-long abuse had caused "substantial losses" in earnings, significant reputation and profession injury as well as caused Michelucci great mental anguish, anxiety and distress, the suit alleged.
A Napa County's Executive Officer, Molly Rattigan, declined to comment on the suit, saying "This is both a personnel and legal matter."