On July 23, 2021, the parties reached a $2.2 million settlement in Jay Brome v. California Highway Patrol, Solano Superior Court No. FCS047706. The RBGG team that represented Jay Brome on the case included Gay Grunfeld, Lisa Ells, Ben Bien-Kahn, Priyah Kaul, and Eric Monek Anderson.
Brome, a former California Highway Patrol (“CHP”) Officer, alleged that he was forced to leave the job he loved due to severe and pervasive discrimination, harassment, and retaliation faced during his 20-year, award-winning career employed by the CHP, simply because he is gay. Like many gay law enforcement officers, Officer Brome alleged that he faced a hostile work environment because of his sexual orientation throughout his career—including pervasive homophobic slurs and other derogatory comments, vandalism and defacement of his workspace and property, a pattern of fellow officers refusing to respond to his calls for backup in dangerous situations, and the consistent failure of CHP management to take adequate action to address the discrimination and harassment he faced. In a Sacramento Bee video interview in 2019, Brome spoke about homophobia at the CHP and the abuse directed at him throughout his 20 year career.
In the Sacramento Bee article about the settlement published on September 30, Brome said, “I feel that I won justice, And justice is not the outcome, it’s the process. They deposed me on four different days and I was able to articulate everything that happened to me.”
RBGG’s Grunfeld also commented for the Bee, “I am so happy for Jay Brome. He is one of the most resilient, hard-working, dedicated people I’ve ever had the opportunity to represent. He never gave up on this case. He sat through all these depositions where people said negative things about him. They couldn’t do anything about his performance, which was superb, so some of the lieutenants and sergeants we deposed would try to say he was too reserved or other personal attacks.”
The article goes on to say, “Grunfeld said she considers it ‘shocking’ that the CHP still does not have an ombudsman or support group aimed to helping officers in the LGBTQ community, saying that ‘illustrates the lack of accountability in the organization.’ And she said she hopes the amount of the settlement will lead to reforms in the agency. ‘He loved the CHP,’ Grunfeld said. ‘It was his dream, and he did everything he could do to make it better.'”
For more information about the case see Gay Former CHP Officer Suing Over 20 Years of Harassment and Discrimination Wins Appeal.