Sexual harassment allegations by a former county employee were denied in a statement issued Monday afternoon by the Davis County Commission defending the county's health department director and personnel director.
Former health department secretary Julia Vicknair filed a $1 million lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City claiming Dr. Enrico Leopardi, her former boss in the health department, sexually harassed her.Vicknair also named Steve Baker, personnel director, and the county in her suit.
"Davis County disputes each and every claim of sexual harassment and retaliation made by Julia Vicknair against Davis County," says the statement, drafted by Baker and Deputy County Attorney Jerry Hess.
"Ms. Vicknair was not sexually harassed nor retaliated against during her employment with Davis County," according to the statement.
In her suit, Vicknair said that while working as executive secretary to Leopardi, he made suggestions on how she could dress to enhance her sex appeal and asked her to go through the pockets of the clothes he had on to retrieve an item.
She said that when she pressed the grievances with Baker, the personnel director, he transferred her to another job in another department that required non-paid work on Saturdays loading and unloading bulk cheese and other food commodities for distribution to the elderly and poor.
The transfer, Vicknair said, was retaliatory and designed to make her quit her job.
The county's position, however, is that Vicknair made no such claims until Leopardi told her that her work was not satisfactory. "Prior to this time, Ms. Vicknair had no such complaints," according to the county.
Her complaint was reviewed by the personnel director and county attorney's office and "it was determined that none of Ms. Vicknair's claims remotely constituted sexual harassment."
At her request, according to the county, she was transferred first to a temporary job and then to a permanent position in the county's employment and training department. She quit May 9.
Her job in that department included "the same duties that predecessors in the position performed," according to the statement.
"Davis County is extremely disappointed at Ms. Vicknair's filing of the civil rights complaint, especially in light of the resolution of Ms. Vicknair's employment concern in a way that she acknowledged was satisfactory to her.
"Davis County expresses its disgust at the blatant misrepresentations contained in the civil rights suit," the statement says, concluding, "Davis County will vigorously defend this suit."