After 10 years of waiting— and with a scheduled trial less than two weeks away — Sergeant Mitchell Grobeson finally got a big part of what he has been fighting so long for: protection.
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to approve the non-monetary portion of a settlement for Grobeson, the LAPD’s first openly gay officer. Grobeson had sued after the city had violated a previous settlement agreement and because he was suspended for “unauthorized recruiting” of lesbians and gay men to join the force, and for allegedly wearing his uniform without permission in a photo in a gay weekly and at gay pride and AIDS-awareness events. This important settlement provides a vast array of protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and job applicants in Los Angeles; additionally it provides protections for people living with HIV. It also mandates recruitment from LGBT communities, and strengthens the city’s antidiscrimination policies by writing them into the city’s administrative code.
Although this is a major step forward for LGBT rights in the workplace, Grobeson’s long legal battle is still not over. To date, he has not been reinstated in the LAPD or allowed to “retire honorably.” His trial on these questions is scheduled for November 13, 2007.
In 1993, Grobeson settled a sexual orientation employment discrimination lawsuit he’d filed against the city of Los Angeles after suffering harassment and discrimination when he was a sergeant. The settlement led to his reinstatement to the force, but he was later suspended for his “unauthorized recruiting” of lesbians and gay men to join the force, and for allegedly wearing his uniform without permission in a photo in a gay weekly and at gay pride and AIDS-awareness events. Grobeson soon filed a second lawsuit, charging the city and numerous police staff with violating the settlement agreement, as well as his federal and state constitutional and state statutory rights. Yesterday’s settlement supersedes Grobeson’s 1993 settlement, which required the city and the LAPD to halt discriminatory practices targeting gay and lesbian employees and applicants.
- June 1996 Lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Grobeson against city of Los Angeles and numerous LAPD officers.
- June 1998 Disciplinary charges imposed against Grobeson are overturned by the Los Angeles Superior Court on the ground that the proceedings against him violated Grobeon’s constitutional rights to due process.
- 1998 – 2007 Lengthy settlement negotiations and discovery proceed.
- November 2007 Los Angeles City Council votes unanimously to approve the non-monetary portion of Grobeson’s settlement. Grobeson has not been reinstated or allowed to retire honorably. Trial on monetary issues still scheduled for November 13, 2007.