A Virginia firefighter claims city officials forced him out of his job after learning he was gay, the Virginian-Pilot reports.

Scott Phillips-Gartner, 55, worked as a member of Norfolk Fire-Rescue for decades, first as a 911 operator and later as an assistant fire marshal and bomb squad technician. But after marrying his longtime boyfriend, Phillips-Gartner says the department stripped him of his rank and law-enforcement powers, relocating him to a temporary facility “with little to no job duties.”

Barry Montgomery, Phillips-Gartner’s attorney, says his client retired earlier this year under threats of being fired. “This was not the way he wanted to leave,” Montgomery says. “It was humiliating.”

Phillips-Gartner is suing the city of Norfolk for creating a hostile work environment. The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges Phillips-Gartner was well regarded until he notified the city’s HR department in 2014 that he had gotten married.

The suit also alleges that the city discriminated against Phillips-Gartner due to his gender and retaliated against him for complaining to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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Battalion Chief Roger Burris verbally attacked Phillips-Gartner throughout 2015, the suit alleges, and treated him less favorably than his straight male counterparts. During a staff meeting, Burris reportedly asked, “Where is Ms. Gartner?”

According to court papers, Fire Chief Jeffrey F. Wise, who also “routinely belittled” Phillips-Gartner, threatened to fire him in November 2017. Phillips-Gartner “reluctantly” put in for retirement the following month, which “disrupted his whole life,” Montgomery says.

Montgomery says the official reason cited for his client’s demotion was that he had “illegally obtained” a service dog without proper authority.

Norfolk implemented policies in 2016 prohibiting city employees, contractors, and volunteers from discriminating against a person based on sexual orientation, and the City Council implemented similar protections the next year.

Representatives for the city of Norfolk and Norfolk Fire-Rescue have declined to comment on the suit.

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