STOCKTON, Calif. (CN) – In a third sexual harassment complaint against a winery owner, a woman claims her “unattractive and grossly overweight” 70-year-old boss in Central California’s Lodi appellation sexually harassed her and other workers.
Janine Hill is the fourth woman to make lurid legal claims against Dino Mencarini, who owns several vineyards and Mencarini Winery in the wine region known for its zinfandel grapes.
Hill’s co-worker Mindy Bonilla sued Mencarini and his companies in March, and Monika Patterson and Silvia Salas filed a joint complaint in December 2011.
The lawsuits, parts of which are quoted below, contain graphic language that some readers may find offensive.
Hill’s lawsuit mirrors the complaints of the other women. All of them allege that Mencarini hired them to try to have sex with them, and retaliated when they refused.
Each woman claims that on her first day of work Mencarini took them out on a golf cart under the guise of showing them the vineyard.
Hill says that on her golf cart “tour,” Mencarini, who had been drinking since 10:30 a.m., told her “I’m going to take my pants down and pee; is that okay with you?”
Hill claims Mencarini then began touching her legs and told her she had nice legs.
In her complaint, Monika Patterson claims that on her golf cart tour, Mencarini “put his hand between her legs and grabbed her crotch. Plaintiff expressed astonishment and pushed his hand away. Dino Mencarini said words to the effect, ‘It’s okay. Nobody can see us.’ He put his hand back between her legs, and plaintiff again pushed his hand away. Dino Mencarini told plaintiff that she would always have a job with him if she just listened to him.”
Patterson claims that her job at Mencarini’s tasting room became a nightmare when she realized he “had probably hired her for no reason other than because he believed he could persuade her to have sex with him.”
After several rebuffs, Patterson says, Mencarini began asking inappropriate questions about her sexual preferences, which she refused to answer.
Patterson’s complaint states: “Dino Mencarini became angry when she refused to answer, and he said ‘I know your favorite position – you want to be treated like a dog.’ He took her outside and told her to get on all fours on a wooden bench that was outside in the vineyard. Plaintiff refused. Dino Mencarini said ‘Don’t you want to keep your job?’ and plaintiff conceded that she did want to keep her job. ‘Then get on the bench.’ So plaintiff got up on the bench and Dino Mencarini humped her.”
Hill claim Mencarini directed sexual comments toward her on a daily basis while she worked for him. Hill’s complaint states that Mencarini’s dirty talk included, “Why don’t you share your body with me,” “You’re selfish,” “Do you like sex,” “Do you want to have sex with me,” “I’d like to eat her ass,” “I’d like her to sit on my face,” “I’d like to eat her asshole out,” “I’d like to tickle her asshole,” “She wants to fuck me,” “I’d go down on that,” “I like the little nipples,” “I like big nipples,” “I want to fuck her,” “Why don’t you want to have sex with me,” “You don’t like men,” “You don’t like cock,” and, when looking at another female employee or customer, “That one? I’d fuck her right now.”
Hill claims that after Mencarini fired Silvia Salas and she sued him for sexual harassment, Mencarini peppered her with questions about Salas.
“He told plaintiff that his private investigator was doing research on her. Mencarini kept asking plaintiff non-job related questions about Salas, such as ‘You know she hangs out at that gay bar, right? She’s dating your brother, right?’ and making sexually disparaging statements about Salas such as ‘… She’s a slut … She’s a whore … She likes girls … I’m going to call your brother in, and he’s going to testify that [Salas] is a whore,'” Hill states in her complaint.
Hill claims that Mencarini also complained to her about his girlfriend, who had a stroke in 2011.
“[Mencarini] began saying to plaintiff and other female employees, ‘Now she’s a fucking invalid. She can’t move to stick my cock in her mouth,’ and Mencarini mimicked how [his girlfriend] limped and how her arm was limp. He complained on a daily basis how ‘she won’t fuck,’ and ‘she’s making my life hell’ …. he continued to talk about [his girlfriend] as a ‘fucking cripple’ who ‘won’t fuck,'” Hill says in her complaint.
All of the women say they complained about Mencarini’s behavior to his brother Ron, who also owned the winemaking operation, but he failed to do anything about Dino Mencarini or protect them. Ron Mencarini is a party in all three lawsuits.
Hill and her former coworkers seek damages for sexual harassment and hostile work environment, failure to prevent harassment, retaliation, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination.
They are represented by John Winer and Judith Wolff, with Winer and McKenna, of Oakland.
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