In Roseville, the city has agreed to pay 3 police officers, one of whom is retired, $490,000 in order to settle a gay discrimination lawsuit filed against the police department.
Under the law in California, particularly the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it is illegal to discriminate against a person or employee on the basis of his or her sexual orientation. The employer may be held liable if he fails to protect said individual against such severe and pervasive harassment in the workplace.
The complainants, Officers Darin DeFreece, Mike Lackl, and Kenneth Marler claimed they were discriminated against by the Department because they were believed to be gay or were gay. Of the 3, Marler who has since retired from the force, is openly gay. Officers DeFreece and Lackl were allegedly persecuted even though they weren’t gay and are actually married to women.
Although the city made no admission of guilt in the settlement, the claims filed by the officers paint another story. Marler alleged in the lawsuit that he was treated as if he was infectious while Lackl claimed that his supervisor subjected him to insinuating and disparaging remarks.
The settlement was made right before the lawsuit was set to go trial – since the case was filed, the city manager and police chief left the city.
For more questions about sexual orientation and harassment, call the employment law attorneys of the Mesriani Law Group at their toll free number at 1-866-325-4529 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free case analysis.
One way employers could avoid making costly mistakes like this is by having clear office policies against workplace discrimination.