The city of Spokane, Washington will pay out a $100,000 settlement to Adriano Eva, an employee who lost his job after harassing a gay coworker. Eva sued the city after Spokane’s Civil Service Commission found that he did not violate city policy with his comments.
The Spokesman reports that trouble began in 2018. Eva, 48, worked as a recreation supervisor for the city began harassing his then-assistant, Connor Wigert, a gay man. Wigert reported that Eva would harass him with comments equating homosexuality with pedophilia, or about Biblical condemnation of homosexuality. Eva also outed Wigert to other city employees. The city opened an investigation into Eva’s conduct, and ultimately demoted him. Since there were no open positions at that lower level open, the city was forced to lay him off.
Eva filed a $2.8 million lawsuit this June over his punishment, following the findings of the Civil Service Commission that his case had been mishandled. Two eyewitnesses to Eva’s abuse of Wigert were never officially interviewed by the city, in essence, granting the settlement on technical grounds. The city approved the settlement offer this week in a narrow 4-3 vote. Part of the settlement mandates that Eva attend training for “sexual harassment prevention, workplace harassment prevention and overcoming unconscious bias in the workplace.”
“The piece I don’t support was the way it was handled,” said Councilwoman Lori Kramer, who voted against the settlement. “I don’t support essentially rewarding someone for bad behavior. Going forward, I’m not sure we’ve done all that we can do to make sure that it doesn’t reoccur.”
Wigert, who has since moved on from his position, expressed his own dissatisfaction with the outcome. “I’m not concerned that they won’t take all the steps to make sure it doesn’t happen moving forward. It’s just disheartening for the precedent it sets in general,” Wigert said. “Having gone through it now, I understand why it’s so hard to say anything in the first place.”