A former Oceano Community Services District employee who was fired in December filed a claim against the agency, alleging that his supervisor had him watch pornography at work.
Steven Langstaff, a utilities service operator, also alleges that he was discriminated against because of his age and fired last December because of a disability that forced him to miss work.
He also claims his termination was wrongful and without due process, and he is seeking present and future lost wages, medical costs, general damages and attorney’s fees.
The services district board unanimously rejected the claim Wednesday, paving the way for Langstaff to file a lawsuit. Langstaff’s attorney, David Hagan, said Friday that he plans to do so.
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Langstaff, 52, was hired in June 2006. He was fired Dec. 13 and filed a formal harassment and wrongful termination claim against the district June 6.
District General Manager Tom Geaslen said he couldn’t disclose the reason for Langstaff’s firing but said it was for cause, or for a specific reason. That reason did not have anything to do with pornography, Geaslen said.
However, Langstaff alleges his boss, Field Utility Supervisor Dan Silveira, and Geaslen tried to drive him out of his job by transferring some of his duties to younger workers and assigning him more difficult tasks, both of which inflicted severe emotional distress.
Langstaff alleges that during working hours, Silveira would call Langstaff and other male utility yard employees over to his desk to view pornography on his computer.
Langstaff also alleges that Silveira continued to do so after he objected and “also made sexually related comments related to Girl Scouts.”
Geaslen said in a statement that Langstaff never reported any issues to him or any other authority prior to filing the claim. Geaslen said he immediately launched an investigation to determine whether the allegations were true and hired a Sacramento-based consulting firm to conduct a full investigation.
The investigation is ongoing, Geaslen said. He could not confirm whether pornography was found on any district computers until the investigation is complete.
Silveira was placed on paid administrative leave June 8. He resigned Thursday, effective Friday.
Silveira could not be reached for comment, and it was unclear whether he had retained an attorney. He worked for the district in the 1990s, then left and was rehired May 29, 2007, according to the district’s legal counsel, Molly Thurmond. He was promoted to supervisor on Oct. 1, 2011.
Langstaff also claims he was fired without having access to a proper appeal process or documents that detail the alleged offenses.
Thurmond said the district disputes those allegations.