A male fire-fighter is the latest person to sue the Minneapolis fire chief, a lesbian, claiming that she discriminated against him because he is a heterosexual man.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Elondo Wright alleges that Bonnie Bleskachek, the city’s first female fire chief, and her partner, a fire department captain, gave him bad reviews, harassed him and denied him advancement.
Bleskachek “adamantly” denied the allegations. She said on Sunday the claims are based on rumours.
“I find it troubling,” she told the Associated Press. “This is all based on hurt feelings and conjecture.”
Wright’s lawsuit is the fourth against the chief this year, alleging various acts of discrimination or harassment. The lawsuits, two of which have been settled, depict a woman who let her personal life interfere with work decisions.
Wright had filed a complaint with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, and probable cause was found. But a settlement with the city wasn’t reached so he sued.
“It’s been rough for the fire department administration. It’s been rough on the rank-and-file fire-fighters and their families,” said City Council member Gary Schiff, who hopes to resolve the issues by year’s end, reports the Fergus Falls Daily Journal.
Bleskachek said she wants a resolution, but also wants the facts to come out.
“I just want this all to be over. I just want to be free,” she said to the AP.
In the other lawsuit, fire-fighter Kristina Lemon claims Bleskachek pursued a sexual relationship with her, and that when Lemon refused, Bleskachek denied her training and advancement opportunities. Bleskachek tells a different story and denies the claims, which span a 10-year period in which Bleskachek moved up from captain to chief.
Lemon told the AP that “running for cover” under the guise of rumours shows that Bleskachek isn’t taking responsibility.
“The truth simply always comes out,” Lemon said to the AP.
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