In a recently filed lawsuit, Riggan Law Firm, LLC, an employment law firm based in St. Louis, Missouri, asserted claims on behalf of its client, a St. Louis County Police Officer who alleges that his employer, St. Louis County, Missouri, has denied him multiple promotions based on his sex/gender and retaliated against him in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act.
The lawsuit alleges that the Plaintiff, a long-time police officer with an impeccable service record, has been denied multiple promotions to the rank of Lieutenant because of the County’s perception that Plaintiff does not adhere and conform to the County’s gender-based expectations/preferences, and because the County believes that Plaintiff’s behavior, mannerisms, and/or appearance do not fit the stereotypical norms of what a “male” should be. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that when he initially applied for a promotion to the rank of Lieutenant in early 2014, he was told by a member of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners (the governing body that supervises the police department), “The command staff has a problem with your sexuality. If you ever want to see a white shirt [i.e., get a promotion], you should tone down your gayness.” The lawsuit alleges that since 2014 and up to the present time, Plaintiff has been passed over for multiple promotion opportunities, many of which were awarded to candidates whose scores/rankings were lower than Plaintiff’s.
In addition, the suit alleges that Plaintiff was transferred to a less desirable work location and shift in retaliation for making complaints about being denied promotion opportunities due to his gender. Specifically, the suit alleges that prior to making complaints and filing a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Missouri Commission on Human Rights, Plaintiff was working an afternoon shift near his home, but that shortly after his Charge of Discrimination was filed, he was transferred to work the midnight shift at a location 27 miles away from his home.
In the lawsuit, the Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief in order to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, as well as lost wages/benefits; damages for emotional distress, humiliation, and diminished employment status; punitive damages; and attorneys’ fees and court costs.