Orange County employment attorneys have learned that a former high-ranking supervisor at a District Attorney’s Office suddenly left his position in December 2020 after harrassment charges were filed agianst him: Gary Logalbo allegedly made racist comments, and three female employees accused him of sexual harassment.
The three female prosecutors accused Logalbo of continuous harassment consisting of inappropriate comments and suggestions. They made these accusations and filed claims against Logalbo, current district attorney Todd Spitzer, and the county itself. Logalbo was recently promoted to a high-ranking position, and his duties included overseeing prosecution operations at various court houses in the county.
Photo by Eleanor Segura – Daily Titan
Allegations of Sexual Harassment Date Back to 2019
The internal complaints, which typically form the basis for harassment lawsuits, were filed in January anonymously, and the individuals are seeking damages for sexual harassment that they allege took place since 2019. One claimant said that when she leaned over to plug a cord into an electrical outlet, Logalbo took a picture of her buttocks with his cell phone, stating that he would save it for “later use.” He was also accused of making a racist remark that targeted a deputy public defender whose name was of Middle Eastern ethnicity. It was said that he referred to the man as a terrorist.
The three women alleging sexual harassment claim they delayed reporting the conduct because Logalbo appeared to have “best friend” status with Spitzer, who acknowledged the connection but claimed the two were not as close as suggested. Spitzer stated that he immediately took action as soon as he was aware of the allegations, and began an investigation. In an email to the Orange County Register, Spitzer referred to the specifics of the claims as “beyond disturbing” and “reprehensible.” However, he maintained that he had no knowledge of the allegations until the complaints were filed.
Logalbo Abruptly Resigns Shortly After Being Promoted
Logalbo was given the senior assistant district attorney position in September 2020, and his promotion became effective on November 13, 2020. Shortly thereafter, on December 11, 2020, Logalbo abruptly resigned.
Some of the women accused Logalbo of doing things like knocking on the closed office doors of women and asking “are you naked?” Other allegations included him sneaking up on female subordinates and placing a cold soda can against their bare necks or backs. One woman alleged that Logalbo threatened to “spank” a female attorney, and told another he wanted to wear her panties like a hat on his head. Still another claimant accused Logalbo of attempting to adjust the back label of her sports bra that was presumably sticking out, as she prepared for a workout. She claimed that he tried it again later, but she ducked away.
Documents Filed by Attorneys in Orange County Claim Witnesses Were Involved
Attorney Matt Murphy, former homicide prosecutor and now a private attorney, filed the documents for the case. Murphy said the report stated that other high-level prosecutors were witnesses to certain episodes of harassment, but that they took no action to stop the conduct.
Spitzer told the Orange County Register that he took action as soon as the problem was brought to light and provided a timeline to the mewspaper. Ultimately, Logalbo was placed on paid leave on December 11, 2020, but resigned the same day. The Register was unable to reach Logalbo for comment.
District Attorney Todd Spitzer (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register)
Employment attorneys in Orange County are following the story of the termination of Amy Palcic, the former Vice President of Communications for the NFL’s Houston Texans. Palcic referred to her termination as “humiliating,” and this is only the latest in a series of baffling moves made by The Texans, who are becoming known for off and on abrupt changes, as exemplified by the firing of Palcic.
Franchise Altering Moves Made Since October
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said the Texans terminated Palcic for a lack of “cultural fit.” It may not come as a surprise to some people, however, as the Texans have made headlines for a series of franchise altering moves since October. The most notable of these was the alarming lack of return on a trade for DeAndre Hopkins, an All-Pro receiver. This move, among other head scratching decisions lead to the termination of longtime general manager and coach Bill O’Brien just four games into the current season. While the termination itself was somewhat expected, the Texans again surprised the sports world with its timing.
Photo Credit – New York Post
Palcic Seeks Legal Advice
Palcic has hired Joseph Ahmad, a lawyer in Houston who has made only one statement so far, in which he confirmed that Palcic retained his services. Many employment attorneys specialize in wrongful termination, gender discrimination, and similar work-related issues that involve unethical or illegal action by a person’s employer.
Ahmad is a lawyer to many executives and has tried numerous cases involving employment issues and breach-of-employment contracts. Palcic may indeed have a contract that was breached. She may also have engaged in protected activity, such as voicing concerns about specific comments made in the workplace by management or raising objections about certain practices which could lead to claims of retaliation.
Regardless of the legal theory, the case could ultimately hinge on whether or not he could poke holes in the “cultural fit” explanation given by the Texans. In other words, if the stated reason for Palcic’s termination can be proven incorrect or baseless, it would suggest that it was merely a cover for a different reason that is in violation of the law.
In the days before her firing, Palcic re-tweeted criticism of members of Donald Trump’s staff and tweeted her support of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, but there is no direct evidence that Palcic was fired because of these actions.
As legal matters go, the termination of the former VP of communications may not be a case for discrimination attorneys and may not be actionable, depending on a broad range of circumstances. It could possibly be disregarded as an inconsequential, organizational change, but all this remains to be seen. Either way, few would argue that Palcic was loved and respected by many of her colleagues, and that the Texans may once again be cast in a terrible light for this decision.
Photo by ClutchPoints
Achievements and Recognition
In 2017, Palcic won the Pete Rozelle Award, bestowed by the Pro Football Writers of America. Her staff won the 2017 Rozelle Award as well, which is given to the best public relations team in the NFL. In 2019, Palcic was named as one of Houston Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” and included on the WISE “Women of Inspiration” list. WISE is an acronym for the organization “Women in Sports and Events.” Many predict Palcic will land on her feet, regardless of how her story with the Texans ultimately ends.