City denies discrimination claim

January 22, 2019

The city has denied claims in a federal lawsuit alleging a former high-ranking Fort Wayne firefighter was discriminated against. 

Elbert Starks, who is black, argues “racially hostile comments” from co-workers created a hostile work environment and accepted a demotion to escape the abuse. He later resigned from the fire department as an assistant chief after filing two complaints about the alleged discrimination. 

The case should be dismissed because the allegations are beyond the scope of a complaint Starks filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a lawyer for the city wrote in court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne. City officials “exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any discriminatory or harassing behavior,” documents state. 

“Starks has not been subjected to an adverse employment action,” a five-page answer to Starks’ lawsuit states. “Starks has not been subjected to disadvantaged terms or conditions of employment.”



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