Retired Norfolk firefighter suing city for discrimination due to sexual orientation


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A retired Norfolk firefighter says he was forced out of his job because of his sexual orientation. 

According to court documents, Scott Phillips-Gartner claims his chief treated him far less favorably after he learned he was married to a man.

Documents show Phillips-Gartner started working for the City of Norfolk in 1991.  He started out as a telecommunications officer, then firefighter, cardiac technician, and was promoted to assistant fire marshal and a senior member of the bomb squad. 

Phillips-Gartner is now suing the city for claims he was discriminated against because he’s gay. This includes what the lawsuit says was a “hostile work environment” based on sexual orientation.

Court documents say Phillips-Gartner was forced to retire from his position.The lawsuit alleges the chief made a disparaging comment about gay marriage, going on to allege Phillips-Gartner was a victim to verbal attacks.

Phillips-Gartner said he was moved to work in a building miles away from his office and he was told to turn in his city issued firearm, computer and cell phone. Additionally, Phillips-Gartner alleges he was told he could no longer use Norfolk vehicles and he was eventually ordered to retire his service dog. 

Phillips-Gartner filed nine grievances addressing discrimination and retaliation based on his sexual orientation, which include some against the City of Norfolk. 

10 On Your Side reached out to the Norfolk Fire Marshal’s office and a spokesperson would not comment on this personnel matter. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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