An Oct. 8 lawsuit filed by Stephan Haase against the city of Sparks claims he was the victim of harassment and workplace discrimination. He claims the poor treatment was in retaliation for leaking information to the media in 2007 about an alleged child endagerer, who also worked for the Sparks Fire Department.
Since then, Haase claims he has been the target of disciplinary letters, interrogations, threats of termination, intimidation and being passed over for promotions.
Haase claims that his communication with the media was a matter of free expression protected under his First Amendment rights.
Sparks assistant city attorney Shirle Eiting acknowledged that they had been served with the compliant and the office was preparing a response. However, the office declined further comment on the litigation.
According to Haase’s lawyer, Jeffrey Dickerson, the firefighter is a member of the local firefighter’s union.
“We want the harassment to stop so that he can get on with his career,” Dickerson said. “He hopes to get a fair playing field. And we hope to teach public employers that … they cannot create a hostile working environment.”
This is the first suit that either Haase or Dickerson has brought against the Sparks Fire Department.
The firefighter, Mark Rumble, was charged with child endangerment and retired from the Sparks Fire Department in early September. The charges were eventually dropped.