By FireRescue1 Staff
EAGAN, Minn. — A firefighter is suing the city and its fire chief after claiming he was demoted from battalion chief because of his sexual orientation.
WDAZ.com reported that firefighter Dan Benson alleges discrimination based on his sexual orientation and violation of his constitutional rights by Eagan Fire Chief Mike Scott and the city. Benson, an 18-year veteran with the department, rose through the ranks and became a battalion chief.
Last year, Chief Scott asked Benson if he had a spouse or significant other. Benson told Chief Scott that he was married to a man and that they were fathers to a son, according to the report.
According to Benson, he previously kept his sexual orientation private. Less than a month later, Chief Scott told Benson that he was not going to be reappointed battalion chief and asked him to remain as an on-call firefighter.
Benson is asking for damages in excess of $50,000 as well as punitive damages. Chief Scott declined to comment on the case.
The city issued a statement, citing a consolidation from six to three fire stations; the city said the changes brought about a need for fewer leadership positions.