Officer Allegedly Told He's Too Gay to Be Promoted

Sgt. Keith Wildhaber was told to 'tone down' his gayness
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 17, 2017 6:23 PM CST
Lawsuit: Officer Told to Tone Down Gayness
Sgt. Keith Wildhaber   (St. Louis County Police)

A St. Louis County police sergeant alleges in a lawsuit against the department that he was told to "tone down" his gayness if he wanted a promotion, the AP reports. Sgt. Keith Wildhaber, a 22-year-old veteran of the department, also alleges he was passed over for promotions and reassigned after he filed a discrimination complaint in April 2016, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Wildhaber said in the lawsuit that nearly all of his peers were promoted even though he ranked third in promotions tests and received "superior" ratings in all categories in performance reviews. "(The department) believes plaintiff's behavior, mannerisms, and/or appearance do not fit the stereotypical norms of what a 'male' should be," according to the lawsuit.

The sergeant alleges that John Saracino, a member of the department's civilian police board in 2014, told him that his being gay was a problem. "The command staff has a problem with your sexuality. If you ever want to see a white shirt (get a promotion), you should tone down your gayness," Saracino allegedly told Wildhaber. Saracino denied that allegation. Wildhaber filed a discrimination complaint in April 2016 with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Missouri Commission on Human Rights. He said a short time later he was reassigned from afternoon shifts to midnights in a precinct about 30 miles from his home. (More discrimination stories.)

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