A former California Highway Patrol officer alleges he faced discrimination and harassment based on his sexuality from his peers. According to USA Today, David Brome first experienced harassment when he began the highway patrol academy more than 20 years ago.
A cadet held a gun to his head
Brome recalls another cadet holding a gun to his head, saying he knew Brome was gay and then threatened to pull the trigger. Though Brome graduated from the academy, he claims the treatment by fellow officers did not get any better.
Other officers would not back him up
He said he did not call for backup during a high-speed chase or a hit-and-run investigation. Brome knew his fellow officers would not respond. The former officer also said he routinely faced homophobic slurs, and once fellow law enforcement scratched his name off a plaque.
His complaints went unanswered
Over his more than 20 years with the department, Brome filed numerous complaints. The departments refused to do anything about the way he was treated.
Brome was diagnosed with anxiety and PTSD
In 2015, the stress of the situation began to take a toll on Brome physically. He was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and PTSD. His doctor recommended he take a medical stress leave.
Brome did not return to work, but he did file a suit alleging discrimination and harassment in 2016. His suit was dismissed, but he has since appealed that decision.
The former California Highway Patrol officer is not alone in his experiences. Many other law enforcement officers are starting to step forward alleging discrimination and harassment for being gay or lesbian. USA TODAY found at least 11 similar lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. since 2016.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevents discrimination based on age, race, disability, religion, national origin, pregnancy or sex. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interprets gender discrimination to include protection for an individual’s gender identity and sexuality.
California workers cannot be discriminated against for their sexuality
California lays out its protections more explicitly. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act protects workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. If you have faced discrimination at work based on your sexuality, you have legal options.