St. Louis County police officer Lt. Keith Wildhaber, who was awarded a $20 million judgment in a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit last October, has agreed to a $10.25 million settlement.
It’s believed the county planned on appealing the ruling, and so Wildhaber came to this agreement to avoid a protracted appeals process.
You may recall Wildhaber, who is openly gay, sued St. Louis County after being passed over for promotion 23 times. Wildhaber said he was being discriminated against due to his sexual orientation.
Among several allegations in the lawsuit, Wildhaber told the court a member of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners told him that if he wanted to get promoted, “you should tone down your gayness.”
At the end of a weeklong trial, the jury deliberated only three hours before awarding the 22-year-veteran nearly $20 million.
ABC News reports Wildhaber will receive a little more than $6.4 million while his attorneys will split $3.8 million.
Wildhaber and his lawyers had offered to settle the case for $850,000 and an immediate promotion of Wildhaber to lieutenant prior to going to trial last year. But according to ABC News, the offer was ignored.
Following the historic jury verdict in Wildhaber’s case, Wildhaber was promoted to lieutenant, and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar ordered the creation of the department’s Diversity and Inclusion Unit which Wildhaber now heads up.
Just hours before the settlement was made public on Monday, Chief Belmar announced he will retire in April.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page told the press his retirement had nothing to do with the settlement.