A jury rewarded Sargent Keith Wildhaber with $20 million after Wildhaber said the St. Louis County Police Department discriminated against him because of his sexually and retaliated against him by filing a complaint.
What We Know:
- In the evenings, as part of his job as Sargent, Keith Wildhaber checked on local restaurants as a safety precaution. One owner, who is also a part of the board of police commissioners, told Wildhaber that the command staff had a problem with his sexuality.
- Wildhaber and another man scored the highest on the promotion’s test, but they weren’t promoted. These two men, who were promoted, had a history of disciplinary/performance issues. Wildhaber said he was constantly passed over for multiple promotions. Wildhaber said the reason behind this was because he didn’t conform to the county’s gender-based norms, expectations, and preferences.
- The legal staff was blasted by a St. Louis County executive because they argued that Wilhaber’s case should be dismissed because it is “legal to discriminate against gay individuals in Missouri”.
- Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over whether or not the category of sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 included sexual orientation and gender identity. In the past, because sexual discrimination is prohibited by Title VII, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and 7th Circuit had held those accountable for displaying discrimination against employees. While the 6th Circuit ruled that discrimination against employees because of their failure to comply with sex stereotypes or their transgender or transitioning status is prohibited by Title VII.
Federal agencies are divided. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continues to enforce its position against discrimination while the U.S. Department of Justice argues the opposite. Experts say employers can adopt protections for the LGBTQ applicants and employees regardless of court decisions.