A 25-year veteran of the a southern California police department is suing his former employer, alleging antigay and anti-HIV discrimination, reports Daily Breeze.
Former Lieutenant Steven Prendergast claims he was fired last year after being falsely accused of touching two police officers during a work trip to Washington, D.C. Prendergast also alleges he was "denied access to the medical care of his choice because of his HIV diagnosis," according to the Breeze.
In his time at the department, Prendergast says he was subjected to antigay comments from his colleagues and that the accusations of inappropriate touching were just an excuse to fire him.
“Because Lt. Prendergast is homosexual and has been diagnosed with HIV, the City wrongfully terminated his employment,” the complaint said, adding that a subsequent internal investigation “was a farce that was intended solely to give the City the pretextual reason to terminate Lt. Prendergast.”
Prendergast, who filed the suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, has worked for the Gardena Police Force since 1995. He was consistently promoted at work and most recently served as the department's spokesperson.
The city and police department have not yet been served with the lawsuit.
LGBTQ people are protected from workplace discrimination in California, and those living with HIV are protected from bias at work on the federal level.