The National Black Lawyers

Gay Missouri Police Officer Gets $19M in Discrimination Suit

November 18, 2019

A Missouri police officer was awarded $19 million by a jury in a discrimination suit. Sergeant Keith Wildhaber, a 25-year veteran of the St. Louis County Police Department who also served in the military, filed and won a discrimination lawsuit against the department, alleging that it denied him promotions because he was gay.

Following a week-long trial and three-hour deliberation, the jury decided that the department should pay Wildhaber $1.9 million in actual damages and $10 million in punitive damages. An additional $999,000 and another $7 million were added in actual damages and punitive damages, respectively.

In the suit, Wildhaber said he had received "extremely positive feedback" during his career as a police officer, but had been passed over for promotion no less than 23 times for not abiding by traditional gender norms.

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