Colorado State Patrol ordered to pay gay ex-trooper $768K for discrimination
by Hendrik Sybrandy
DENVER — A gay former Colorado State Patrol trooper and captain has been awarded more than three-quarters of a million dollars in damages for discrimination.
Brett Williams, 45, sued the CSP after he was turned down for a job in 2010. Williams had applied for reinstatement to the department after quitting earlier that year.
Last summer, a State Personnel Board judge ruled Williams had been discriminated against because of his sexual orientation. Last week, a judge ordered he be given $768,000 in front and back pay.
“I was pleased with her ruling,” Williams said Sunday by phone from Hawaii, where’s now living. “But at the same time, I can’t get too excited about it because basically I know that the State Patrol and the state will continue to drag it out, draw it out and appeal it.”
Williams said the discrimination became clear to him during a polygraph exam he was given when he applied for reinstatement. He was asked if a man or a woman had given him a massage during a trip to Thailand.
“I answered honestly, just like I did to all the questions, that the person was male,” he said, adding that his examiner reacted immediately. “He kind of had a smile on his face about it so I kind of knew at that time that something was not right. So by answering that honestly, I knew what the outcome of that was going to be and basically they’d forced me out of my closet.”
In a statement, the State Patrol said “We stand by our decision not to rehire Brett Williams. The decision that was made had nothing to do with his sexual orientation.”
CSP is expected to appeal the order for damages.
Williams said his experience three years ago has prevented him from working at other police agencies. He now works for an irrigation company in Hawaii.