A judge ordered that a former Colorado State Trooper captain will be paid over $768,000 in damages after he was denied reemployment over a polygraph question that forced him to reveal that he was gay.
Brett Williams, 45, sued the Colorado State Patrol after he was turned down for a job in 2010. Williams had quit his job with the CSP that same year to become a helicopter pilot but decided he wanted to return a few months later.
But during a polygraph test that was required for his reinstatement, Williams said a State Patrol sergeant asked him whether a man or a woman had given him a massage on a trip in Thailand.
“I answered honestly, just like I did to all the questions, that the person was male,” Williams told Fox31 Denver. “[The examiner] kind of had a smile on his face about it so I kind of knew at that time that something was not right. So by answering that honestly, I knew what the outcome of that was going to be and basically they’d forced me out of my closet.”
The man administering the polygraph then proceeded to question Williams about porn and even child molestation, according to a report by Westword.
In court documents, Williams said that there were no openly gay men in the CSP and said he had observed an "anti-gay bias in the Patrol" and was "terrified" of being found out. Williams said he even put a picture of a woman on his desk so that his colleagues would think he had a girlfriend.
Still rumors surfaced that Williams was gay and in 2010, he decided to leave to pursue a lifelong dream of being a helicopter pilot. In his last evaluation at CSP, Williams was commended for his "remarkable career" and strong leadership. Three months later when he asked to return because he missed his job at the patrol however, former CSP Chief James Wolfinbarger suddenly wanted Williams to undergo the full background check and polygraph exam, something that State Personnel Judge Mary McClatchey found to be a departure from the previous chief's policy.
Last February after an investigation into the culture at the CSP that was prompted by the Williams lawsuit, Wolfinbarger was reportedly asked by Governor John Hickenlooper's office to retire, and stepped down.
In her conclusion, McClatchey found that the CSP used solely the polygraph test to deny Williams' reinstatement, which broke with law enforcement hiring standards. In addition to awarding Williams front pay, McClatchey ordered the Patrol to "immediately designate a command-level point-of-contact for gay Patrol members."
The CSP however, still says its decision not to rehire Williams had nothing to do with his sexual orientation and it's expected that they will appeal the decision.
Read McClatchey's full decision here: