Cop Out?

California police officer says he was fired because he’s gay and has HIV

Lt. Steven Prendergast (right). Via Twitter

A former police officer from Gardena, CA has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city. He claims that he lost his job because he is gay and HIV+.

Metro Weekly reports Steven Prendergast worked as a lieutenant for the Gardena Police Department from 1995 to 2019. He claims that during that time he experienced discrimination and harassment by his fellow officers over his sexual orientation and medical status. He also claims that the department denied him access to the medical care of his choice because of his diagnosis.

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Prendergast also says he was wrongfully accused of inappropriate touching of two other officers while on a trip to Washington DC. He believes that allegation also was used to justify his termination from the department, though other heterosexual officers were accused of similar conduct and faced no disciplinary action.

Officials for the Gardena Police Department claim they have not yet been served with the lawsuit, and refused to comment on the matter. “It is the City’s consistent practice not to comment on lawsuits that have not been served,” the department said in a statement. “The City does however strictly enforce its equal employment guidelines, including prohibitions on workplace harassment, against and for the protection of all ranks of its employees, from entry-level positions to top-level managers. The City will respond in court at the appropriate time.”