A California court ruled on Tuesday that San Diego city will have to pay US$34,300 in total to compensate four firefighters for lost earnings and emotional distress for having to march in the city's gay pride parade - an act that constituted sexually harassment.
In the official Complaint of Discrimination document filed by Ghiotto and made available by Fox News, Ghiotto said that himself and his crew were subjected to crude comments, vulgar actions and simulated sex acts along the parade route. (See image above.)
Attorney Charles LiMandri also said his clients witnessed a man groping another man along the parade route, creating an offensive work environment.
The jury ruled that each of the four should receive US$5,000. One should receive an additional US$14,200 because he felt compelled to transfer to a different fire station after the incident, and another will receive US$100 as reimbursement for a co-pay for a counseling session.
The jury concluded after two days of deliberation that the Fire Department violated its own anti-sexual-harassment policy by forcing the four into the parade over their objections.
Jurors were unable to reach a verdict in the first civil trial last September. In that trial, the firefighters' attorney asked the jury to award each firefighter from US$500,000 to US$1 million.
Since the lawsuit was filed, Fire Chief Tracy Jarman, who marched in the parade, has changed departmental policy, making participation in parades voluntary. The city attorney's office, which represented the Fire Department in the lawsuit, plans an appeal.