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Sexual Harassment Based On Sexual Orientation In California Sheriff’s Office

Ricardo Olguin began working as a deputy for the Merced County Sheriff’s Office in 2008. He was terminated three years later, in 2011, after enduring sexual harassment based on his sexual orientation during that “hellish” time.

Olguin reported vandalism of his personal property while at work and at home because he was gay. ‘Homo’ was written in nail polish on items of his at work; ‘Aids Maggot’ was penned on his business card and taped to his work locker; and his personal truck was painted with ‘homo,’ ‘faggot,’ and ‘You should have thought twice about ratting.’ Olguin had complained to his supervisors at the Sheriff’s department about derogatory comments made to him by California Highway Patrol officers.

After complaining, rather than do something about the harassment Olguin was receiving based on his sexual orientation, Olguin received a notice of intent to terminate from the Merced Sheriff’s Office.

Olguin also claimed that he was denied training that would have made him eligible for the county’s mounted horse patrol unit. Olguin overheard discussion of his prior work history and jokes about gay marriage related to his inquiry into the mounted patrol.

Olguin has requested $5 million to cover lost wages and emotional distress related to the sexual orientation harassment at the Merced Sheriff’s Office. He is also considering whether he would like to be reinstated as a sheriff’s deputy in Merced as part of his request for relief.

Source: The Modesto Bee, “Ex-Merced deputy sues over sexual harassment because he’s gay,” Mike North, May 2, 2012

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