Carol Ostrow Aug. 19, 2015, 1:10pm


A New Orleans police officer is suing the city's housing authority, alleging retaliatory discrimination and violation of his civil rights in his termination.

Silas Phipps of Orleans Parish, who states he is bisexual, filed a lawsuit Aug. 5 against the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, alleging discrimination and retaliation in his dismissal.

According to the complaint, Phipps was hired by HANO around March 2013 and performed his job adequately. The suit says when a sergeant committed payroll fraud Dec. 5, 2013, Phipps ultimately was punished for reporting the action.

The complaint states when explicit derogatory sexual remarks were made in the presence of several officers at a meeting March 17, 2015, and Phipps complained the next day, co-workers retaliated with a bogus complaint March 18, allegations of a sexual relationship with a co-worker March 20, and simultaneous validation of his complaint and notification that he was under investigation March 27.

Phipps alleges he was placed on administrative leave April 7 and terminated 48 hours later. Despite his appeal, the suit states, he was formally terminated May 21.

According to the suit, the housing authority discriminated against Phipps on the basis of his sexual orientation, retaliated against him after he complained of the unlawful discrimination and reported other officers’ fraudulent activities, and willfully violated the Civil Rights Act, the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law (LEDL) and the Louisiana Whistleblower Act.

Phipps seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, lost wages and benefits, reinstatement or front pay, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees, expenses and court costs. He is represented by attorney Christopher Williams of Williams Litigation in New Orleans.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana case number 2:15-cv-03296-MLCF-KWR.

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