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A former Duchesne County Correctional Facility deputy claims in a lawsuit that he was harassed and wrongfully fired because he complained that two co-workers used prison property as inappropriate Halloween costumes.
In his suit, which was filed Wednesday in 8th District Court against Duchesne County and its sheriff's office, Brady Davis is claiming violation of the Utah Whistleblower's Act and defamation. He is asking for reinstatement to his job, lost wages and benefits and unspecified monetary damages.
Davis said the trouble began when he saw photos in October on a social media website of a Duchesne County sheriff's lieutenant in a Utah Department of Corrections orange jumpsuit and a deputy in a green prison suicide smock who was pretending to hang himself. Davis was concerned because the two men were using corrections property for their personal benefit and the pictures reflected negatively on their employer, the lawsuit says.
Davis, who had begun working at the jail in April 2014 and was still on probation as a new employee, said he reported the situation to the county human resource director and to the Department of Corrections. The human resource director appeared to dismiss his report, saying she was friends with the lieutenant and deputy and that she had attended the Halloween party, according to the suit.
After he made the report, Davis said in his suit, he was subjected to ongoing harassment and served with a notice that his probationary period was being extended an additional six months. Officials failed to address the retaliatory behavior and Davis notified the sheriff's office in January that he was resigning in February because of the hostile work environment, the suit says.
Then, one week before his intended resignation date, Davis was fired, the suit says.
Davis then began working for the Beaver County Jail, and in May, someone called the Beaver County Sheriff's Office and said Davis was a former Duchesne County employee, the suit says. It says the caller who is listed as John Doe in the suit falsely said that Davis was a bad employee and that he should not be employed in Beaver County.
Neither the Duschesnse County sheriff nor a public information officer was available Friday to comment on the lawsuit.