Former police officer files suit against Bob Hope Airport

BOB HOPE AIRPORT ? A former airport police officer has filed suit against the Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena Airport Authority claiming racial discrimination and wrongful termination.

Michael Gomez, was fired on Sept. 2, 2005, after a fight with another officer, according to his complaint filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court on April 12.

The suit, however, claims that Gomez did not start the fight, and he suffered humiliation being unfairly reprimanded in front of his fellow officers and discrimination at the hands of his superior officers due to his race.

"He's been subjected to unlawful discrimination," Gomez's attorney, Kevin C. Boyle said. "He's been left in a place where he's precluded from pursuing his career and, farther than that, making a living."

Gomez, who began his employment at the airport in October 2000, claims in the suit that there were numerous instances in which he was reprimanded for simply doing his job.

In one incident listed in the complaint, Gomez was reprimanded for running a license-plate check on a car that turned out to be stolen. He further claims that other officers have run similar checks in the past without incident. Gomez also alleges that he was reprimanded for responding to a radio call to which two other officers had already responded.

The claim also states that Gomez issued a complaint against a superior officer for racial discrimination, but that the complaint was never investigated. The formal complaint only worsened that officer's treatment of Gomez, he claims.

The poor treatment continued despite the fact that Gomez received satisfactory and exemplary reviews in 2003 and 2004.

Airport Spokesman Victor Gil and Airport Authority Chairman Charles Lombardo declined to comment, saying it is against policy to speak on a pending legal matter.

Gomez is seeking unspecified damages for race discrimination, retaliation, harassment and wrongful termination.

"He's really seeking to effect change in the workplace," Boyle said.

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