At the April 13th Alameda Unified School District Board of Trustee Meeting, the closed-session agenda listed no less than nine lawsuits against the District. One of those suits is Boucher v. AUSD, wherein a former District employee, a gay man, is suing the District, claiming sexual orientation harassment and discrimination, disability harassment and discrimination, retaliation, and failure to prevent harassment.
According to his lawsuit filing, Gene Boucher was hired by the District in August 2006, promoted to payroll accounting in January 2007, and ultimately resigned on March 16, 2009, after being on leave for stress for two months. Mr. Boucher filed his suit against the District in August of 2009.
The problem began on Valentine’s Day when Boucher was “outed” as a gay man to his co-workers, after accepting a flower from another male District employee. Boucher says that this ultimately lead to continual harassment about his sexual orientation, and that he eventually became known among the District’s employees as “the gay guy in payroll,” many of them addressing him by that moniker in person. Boucher says that he repeatedly asked co-workers to refer to him by his given name.
On September 23, 2008, Boucher’s lawsuit says that he was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and shortly thereafter asked his supervisor Lydia Lotti, then Director of Fiscal Services for the District, for a more ergonomic environment to work in. Boucher asserts that Lotti “made numerous remarks to [Boucher] belittling his carpal tunnel syndrome, and that he had to repeatedly press for an ergonomic study performed to suggest possible accommodations for his carpal tunnel syndrome. the study was performed in 2008.
Boucher claims that on January 7, 2009, Lotti threatened to have Boucher fired for forging her signature and not properly documenting his absences, charges that Boucher denies in his court pleading. By March 16, 2009, Boucher resigned. Boucher says that the allegations over the signature and absences, and the ongoing discussion and harassment related to his sexual orientation made for an abusive and hostile work environment, and that he had no choice but to resign.
The full text of Gene Boucher’s complaint with the Alameda County Superior Court is included below. The case is RG09-468496. Boucher is represented by the Liberation Law Group of San Francisco.
The Alameda Unified School District, and Lydia Liotti are represented on the case by Louis A. Leone, Esquire, of the firm Stubbs & Leone, of Walnut Creek.
The case is set for a trial by jury for November 22, 2010.