Police Sgt. Allegedly Told To "Tone Down His Gayness" If He Wants Promotion
Sgt. Keith Wildhaber, a 22 year veteran of the St. Louis County Police force, has filed a discrimination suit against the department claiming that he hasn't been promoted due to being gay.
In a lawsuit filed Jan. 10, Sgt. Keith Wildhaber claims a former St. Louis County Police Board member told him to “tone down your gayness” if he ever wanted to be promoted.
Wildhaber declined to comment for this story. His attorney, Russell Riggan, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The sergeant ranked third among 26 people who took a promotions test in February 2014, and also was third in a second round of tests in February 2015, according to the lawsuit.
But Wildhaber has watched as virtually all of his peers were promoted, even though his written performance reviews show that he “exceeds standards” or is “superior” in all rated categories, the suit says.
“Defendant believes plaintiff’s behavior, mannerisms, and/or appearance do not fit the stereotypical norms of what a ‘male’ should be,” according to the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit Wildhaber also cites an alleged incriminating conversation with John Saracino, a member of the civilian police board:
During a routine business check at Bartolino’s restaurant in 2014, Wildhaber visited with its owner, John Saracino, according to the lawsuit. Saracino was a member of the department’s civilian police board at the time.
“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,” Saracino allegedly told Wildhaber.
Reached Wednesday, Saracino said: “I never had a conversation like that. I would never say anything like that. That’s not me.”
Based on Wildhaber's test results and performance reviews, it would appear he's overdue for a promotion.
What do you think of his lawsuit?