Last December, we reported that former Mono County Superior Court deputy clerk Angela Olson had filed a workplace harassment complaint in U.S. District Court (Eastern District of California) against the State of California, the Judicial Council of California, the Administrative Office of the Courts, Mono County and Mono County Superior Court Executive Officer Hector Gonzalez.
You can find that story (“Olson Lodges Complaint Against Gonzalez, State”) at www.thesheetnews.com.
This week, The Sheet obtained a draft copy of the Complaint for Damages that will be filed imminently in the Mono County Superior Court.
The complaint for damages, to be filed against Mono County Superior Court, et. al. provides a more detailed account of Olson’s case and does name names, principally the name of the co-worker Olson alleges to have harassed her – Mark Booth.
The narrative reads as follows: “Olson was harassed by a co-worker, Mark Booth, with words and acts, to include, but not be limited to, physically aggressive behavior, yelling and name-calling, physically intimidating Olson with his body actions and behavior and inappropriate activities designed to provoke fear and anxiety.
Because of Booth’s hostile acts, the Plaintiff began to fear for her physical safety and life. Olson informed the Defendant Employer that Booth’s harassment and aggression caused her great fear for her physical safety and life and made her working conditions unbearable.
The harrassment by Booth was so excessive, insidious and permeating that the Defendant Employer believed that Booth may actually cause physical harm to Olson. In order to protect Olson, the Defendant Employer was forced to take extraordinary actions to keep Olson from being harmed, to include but not be limited to the following:
a. several counseling sessions concerning his aggressive behavior toward Olson;
b. the requirement that Booth attend anger management classes for a one year period; and
c. require that Booth’s behavioral stability be managed by medication.
Because of Defendant Employer’s patent fear for Plaintiff’s physical safety because of Booth’s presence, it was forced to take drastic, extreme, radical proactive and protective steps to include one on one meetings with employees seeking their opinion of Booth’s stability and volatility.
Olson was told by Gonzalez that Booth did not hate Olson; rather, that Booth was obsessed with Olson, in an action that drastically escalated Olson’s fear of Booth.
At approximately the same time, Gonzalez informed Olson that Olson should curtail her communications with Booth because, “It might push him over the edge.”
From August, 2012 until December 19, 2012, every time the Plaintiff complained of Booth’s egregious conduct, the Plaintiff was informed by Gonzalez that Gonzalez was taking care of it.
On December 19, 2012, The Plaintiff related a further incident and told Gonzalez she no longer could stand to work in this hostile environment. Thus, there was a necessity for an immediate meeting to resolve the Booth issue.
At a December 20, 2012 meeting, presided over by Hector Gonzalez, the Mono County Court Executive Officer, Gonzalez informed Olson that Booth was going to be denied a promotion to the Court’s Financial Officer’s Position and may be upset (knowing his unstable demeanor) so Olson should take several days off for her own safety in case Booth took out his non-promotion on her.
In this same meeting, Gonzalez further suggested that the Sheriff dispatch should have Olson’s home address and phone number flagged if Booth caused any problem at Olson’s home. Jeff Gordon, the Court’s Supervising Bailiff made such contact and Olson’s contact information is still on file.
Gonzalez, in an act that demonstrated his fear for Olson’s physical safety, in response to a question from Olson, advised her that it would be a good idea to carry a firearm she owned on her person. Additionally, Gonzalez asked for a key to the court gun locker for his own safety but that request was refused by the bailiff.
Demonstrating a level of fear for Olson’s physical safety that was palpable, Gonzalez in the December 20, 2012, meeting, devised a scheme that when Olson left Gonzalez’ office they would make it appear that Olson was being reprimanded for something so that Booth would not know the real reason for the meeting.
Olson was provided with a pepper spray device to protect herself from any inappropriate actions by Booth. Olson was also informed and believes and thereupon alleges that portions of the Court were swept before and after Booth’s presence to detect “any items that Booth might bring/leave on the property” and the undercarriage of Olson’s automobile was also searched using a mirror because of fear of what Booth might do.
Olson, beginning in/about March, 2012 and continuing past the December 20, 2012, meeting, informed the Defendant Employer, on a continuing and increasing basis, not only of the actions of Booth, but also of her worsening medical situation because of Booth’s actions. Olson disclosed medical conditions of mental distress, anxiety, acute traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia and finally a PTSD diagnosis which qualified as a mental disability as defined by Govt. Code section 12926.”
Eventually, Olson took medical leave.
The complaint then alleges “Defendants, and each of them, still failed to take any immediate and effective corrective action to allow Olson to return to work in a safe and discrimination/harassment-free work environment; instead, they instructed Olson to take evasive and covert actions to protect herself.
When Olson suggested that Booth should be terminated (which he eventually was), rather than proffer a counter-offer, Defendant Employer transmogrified Olson’ position into a specious reason to break off the alleged interactive-process and terminate Olson; claiming Booth could not be terminated because he did no wrong.”
At a June hearing in Sacramento before a federal judge, the attorney for California’s Administrative Office of the Courts and Counsel for the State of California insisted that Gonzalez had been recently terminated, according to Olson’s attorney Leo F. Donahue.
However, when The Sheet walked into the Superior Court last week to inquire as to Gonzalez’s employment status, a clerk stated that Gonzalez is still employed by the Court.
Mr. Donahue told The Sheet this week that he is waiting for the federal case to be dismissed without prejudice before he re-files the case locally.
His thought process was that he initially thought it might be easier and less expensive for him to prosecute the case in Sacramento versus trying it in Mono County.