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Officer who claimed discrimination settles with airport

Man who claimed he was harassed for being gay agrees to $30K settlement.

February 21, 2012|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com
(Tim Berger/Staff…)

An officer with the Bob Hope Airport Police Department has agreed to accept $30,000 to settle claims that he was harassed by his supervisor for being gay.

In the lawsuit, Richard Ellis claims the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority did nothing to stop the harassment, even after being notified of the situation.

Ellis claimed a police sergeant made disparaging remarks about him over his sexual orientation and took retaliatory actions against him, such as making false claims about the number of days he took off, according to court documents.

Ellis joined the airport police department in November 2006 after working as a police officer with the city of Glendale.

When he started at Bob Hope Airport, he worked with Police Sgt. Henry Gomez, who initially was friendly to Ellis and often complimented him on his work, according to court documents.

But all that changed after Ellis claims he was referred to in a derogatory way by his superior. Gomez allegedly tried to stunt Ellis’ progress within the department and took actions to erode his standing, according to the lawsuit.

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The airport authority and Gomez deny all of Ellis’ allegations, court documents state.

A status hearing on the case, in which the settlement agreement is presented to the judge to consider dropping the case, was postponed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Dismissal is likely because Ellis’ attorney, Thomas Hoegh, has signed off on the settlement, court officials said.

The airport authority confirmed that both Ellis and Gomez still work for the airport police department.

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