MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Macomb County has hired a law firm to investigate employee complaints against Prosecutor Peter Lucido.
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, 7 Action News just received a copy of a notice telling Lucido in February he’s facing ”complaints alleging unlawful discrimination and/or harassment.”
The letter warns him not to retaliate against anyone who could be his accuser.
Macomb County’s Corporation Counsel John Schapka told 7 Action News that employees in the prosecutor’s office complained, but he can not disclose the nature of the allegations due to an ongoing investigation. The county has hired an outside law firm to investigate.
Lucido through his attorney said he doesn’t know what the new allegations are about and is concerned that someone shared confidential information with the media.
“We thank you for your offer to interview either Prosecutor Lucido or me. As much as we wish to honor your request, we can’t at this time,” Lucido’s attorney Cameron J. Evans said.
“First, given the strict confidentiality that is supposed to govern this 'confidential' investigation, Prosecutor Lucido is concerned that he would be accused of trying to taint or influence the confidential investigation if either one of us granted your interview request,” Evans continued. “Second, although more than one month has passed since Prosecutor Lucido was informed of the confidential investigation, he has not yet been informed of the actual allegations related to the workplace complaint. So, he is not even in a position to address whatever concerns have been raised.”
“Under the law, you are required to investigate this,” said David Strubler, Ph.D., with Oakland University's Department of Organizational Leadership.
Strubler teaches human resource development at Oakland University. He says those filing complaints should know they are not alone if they feel their workplace is toxic, according to surveys.
“Right now, I think there is 10 to 15 percent of employers that are considered to be non-toxic work environments. This is a serious problem across our country,” Strubler said.
This is not the first time Lucido has been accused of inappropriate behavior.
In 2020, a lobbyist, a 22-year-old reporter from Michigan Advance and a Democratic state senator accused Lucido, a Republican state senator at the time, of sexual harassment.
A Michigan Senate investigation found his conduct inappropriate workplace behavior.
The people of Macomb County then elected him prosecutor.
“Prosecutors have an incredible amount of authority and power in our society when you think about it. They get to make decisions about who will be prosecuted, whose liberty will be at issue. You want people with the highest level of judgment,” said Deborah Gordon, an attorney who specializes in employment law.
While the investigation is still underway, she says it is concerning to see someone who is in the position of prosecutor facing such accusations repeatedly.
“Any lawyer who does not know how to conduct himself in the workplace with regard to discrimination of any kind, but in particular sex harassment, that is not a good sign of someone’s ability to understand and follow the law, understand and follow rules and treat people with respect,” Gordon said.