Stephen Montoya, an attorney for Frank Cheatham, said his client spent 34 years with the fire department and rose to the rank of deputy chief shift commander overseeing 400 firefighters before he was involuntarily transferred to the Safety Division, KPHO-TV, Phoenix, reported Monday.
"They essentially gave him a nothing position, even though in over three decades of service, this guy was never disciplined," Montoya said.
The lawsuit alleges Cheatham was transferred as retaliation for complaining about what he considered to be inappropriate conduct at the fire station. Montoya said Cheatham sent an email Saturday to Phoenix Fire Station 1's battalion chief saying he had seen a drawing of a male reproductive organ on a pickle jar at the fire station.
Montoya said his client soon received an inter-office piece of mail containing penis and vagina shaped pasta pieces.
A city investigation into Cheatham's allegations concluded there was not enough evidence to prove his reassignment was retaliation for his complaints. He did not lose his title or take his pay cut when he was transferred, the report said.
Cheatham's lawsuit is seeking his old position back and monetary damages.