A former guard from a Napa County jailhouse claims he was driven out of his job and ended up in a mental hospital after suffering relentless antigay harassment from colleagues and supervisors. But here’s the real kicker: he isn’t even gay.
41-year-old Dante Michelucci worked as a correctional officer for the Napa County from 2007 until April 2018. Despite identifying as straight and being married to a woman, Michelucci claims he was the targets of homophobic abuse at the hands of his colleagues.
The trouble started about a year ago, ten years after Michelucci started working for the county, when one day his coworkers “decided he was gay” and started calling him antigay slurs.
Over the months, the alleged harassment escalated. Michelucci’s locker became “littered” with photoshopped pictures of him at Pride parades. He was also frequently asked how many blowjobs he had performed that day and insulted about his appearance.
When Michelucci reported the abuse to supervisors, the lawsuit reads, “he was labeled a snitch, and his coffee cup (was) spit into.” He was also “mocked” for complaining about being bullied and told the harassment was a sign that his colleagues “liked him.”
“The hostile work environment became so pervasive that (Michelucci) was hospitalized” with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression, the suit continues.
He also claims to have suffered from a bout of Bell’s Palsy, a form of temporary facial paralysis caused by damage or trauma.
“He had a breakdown,” Michelucci’s attorney, David Poore, says.
In April, Michelucci was placed on medical leave. He’s now suing in federal court last in San Francisco, where he is seeking unspecified damages, including punitive damages.