Gay Chicago Sheriff’s Deputy Sues for Unrelenting Harassment
A sheriff's deputy from Chicago's Cook County has filed a lawsuit against his department and claims that his bosses did nothing to prevent his colleagues from harassing him because he is gay, Chicago CBS reported.
The lawsuit was filed by David Nardi, who alleges that some officers and a supervising sergeant have harassed him over his sexual orientation since he started working at the sheriff's office in 1999.
He says that his co-workers would make lewd noises when he was around them, whistle at him, and hurled homophobic epithets at him. According to the suit, Nardi's colleagues would sometime refer to him with anti-gay terms in front of jail inmates "in order to put his safety and well being at risk." Nardi also says that some of his peers would refuse to help him with duties because he is gay.
The suit also alleges that one sergeant allegedly "continually tormented" him with a sign that read, "I am gay." In October 2010, an incident occurred during a roll call meeting where other deputies began signing about "having a gay old time" when Nardi walked into the room.
Additionally, the suit maintains that Nardi filed a sexual harassment complaint, but his supervisor, who he says was complicit in the harassment, refused to forward it to the Office of Professional Responsibility so the incident could be investigated. Nardi eventually filed a discrimination charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights but claims he was then unfairly disciplined and was ordered to inferior assignments.
A case that mirrors Nardi's situation was reported by EDGE in May. Regina Tasca, a 45-year-old lesbian policewoman from a town in Bergen County, a New Jersey suburban area near New York City, sued a local police department and the city where she worked after she says she was harassed and discriminated against because of her sexual orientation.
Tasca says she was belittled by co-workers, passed over for promotions, denied overtime and her locker was vandalized many times.
"When you first get out of the academy, you're gung-ho," Tasca said in an interview. "No matter what I did, it was an issue. It was like, 'You're writing too many tickets. You are making too many DWI arrests.' I thought that was what I was supposed to do."
Tasca's lawsuit alleges the harassment she endured caused her to go into a depression and that the hostile work environment was so bad she had to go to the hospital on two occasions for work-related stress.
But police department officials say that the policewoman was having trouble performing job duties as she allegedly failed to help an officer when he struggled with an intoxicated woman who later attacked him. One of the defendants in the case is Sgt. Robert Piterski, Tasca's longtime friend, whom she accuses of telling a resident of her sexual orientation.
Tasca's lawyer alleges that the department wants to get rid of her because she is a woman and because she "interfered to halt what she viewed as excessive force."