An employee for the City of Coronado says supervisors in the city's maintenance department harassed and demeaned him for being gay.
Sean Ryan sued the city earlier this week after years of complaining about mistreatment and gay slurs in the maintenance department and years of the city allegedly dismissing those claims as "shop talk."
According to the complaint, Ryan started working for the city in July 2013. He was assigned to the Coronado Municipal Golf Course maintenance shop. Not long after he was hired, Ryan says a coworker began mocking him over his sexual orientation. She allegedly told Ryan that he "wasn't a real man" as well as other discriminating comments.
In September 2014, Ryan told his supervisors about the coworker's statements. His supervisors, Eric Scribner and Phil Fitzgerald, informed the coworker about Ryan's complaint. The discrimination got worse, claims Ryan.
Ryan's coworker began calling him "joto," a Spanish slur for gay men. Supervisor Scribner required Ryan to wear a helmet not just on the golf course but while in the shop as well. No other employee was required to do the same.
Ryan went to Coronado's human resources department to lodge a formal complaint about the slurs, which included frequent use of the word "faggot."
Reads the complaint: "The city concluded that the use of insensitive language by Golf Services employees and general 'shop talk' was confirmed by Scribner and sustained."
The city then informed Ryan that mandatory training would take place for the department. But soon, according to the lawsuit, Ryan's hours were cut.
In August 2016, Ryan found a piece of plywood next to a dumpster. On it was written "[Ryan] sucks dick" and "[Ryan] is a fag." The plywood remained there for three weeks. Ryan once again filed a formal complaint. The city investigated and found the claims to be "unsubstantiated."
Ryan is suing for back-pay, punitive, and special damages.
Coronado city manager Blair King says he is unable to comment on personnel matters. However, Blair says the city is "committed to providing a working environment free from discrimination. The city promptly investigates all complaints through its trained staff, or with the assistance of a licensed investigator or an attorney that specializes in the field. Appropriate disciplinary actions are taken if the allegations are found to be substantiated after the investigation. If the investigation finds the complaint not supported by evidence, the matter is closed."