Former Lone Tree Police Chief Steve Hasler’s attorney filed a complaint March 18 with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging retaliatory termination.
After eight years at the helm of the department, Hasler was dismissed without cause in August 2012 by City Manager Jack Hidahl, which Hasler says was an act of retaliation related to a harassment/hostility complaint against Hidahl.
“The city’s position continues to be he was terminated under the contract that allowed the city to do so without cause,” said City Attorney Gary White. “Beyond that, we’ll just await the EEOC’s determination.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
Denver attorney Steven Dawes, an attorney for the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA), is preparing the city’s response to the claim. CIRSA provides municipal insurance policies. Lone Tree is a CIRSA member.
Mills did not return calls requesting comment, and Hasler had little to say.
“It’s a matter of course (to file with the EEOC),” Hasler said, adding that if the commission decided to take his case, “they’ll pursue it on my behalf.”
According to the EEOC’s website, “Our role in an investigation is to fairly and accurately assess the allegations in the charge and then make a finding. If we find that discrimination has occurred, we will try to settle the charge. If we aren't successful, we have the authority to file a lawsuit to protect the rights of individuals and the interests of the public.”
If the EEOC doesn’t take the case, Hasler said he and his attorney will file suit against the city directly.
Lone Tree officials still have not offered an explanation for Hasler’s firing, though Hidahl said it was “not an arbitrary or capricious decision.”
CIRSA investigated the 2011 allegations from a female police department employee who said Hidahl created a hostile working environment, and found the incident did not rise to that level. Hasler filed the claim for her with Hidahl, and said his relationship with the city manager steadily deteriorated after that.
CIRSA provides municipal insurance policies. Lone Tree is a CIRSA member.
Former Lakewood Police Cmdr. Jeff Streeter was sworn in as Lone Tree’s new police chief March 4.