News (USA)

Gay paramedic files lawsuit over harassment and “culture of discrimination” at Denver Health

Photo: Shutterstock

According to a gay, former paramedic for Denver Health, the city’s largest health services provider has been corrupted by a “culture of discrimination, retaliation, sexism, [and] racism, and it “needs to stop.”

The paramedic, Jordan Christensen, filed a lawsuit alleging he faced serial harassment and discrimination from his superiors in Denver Health’s Paramedic Division due to his sexual orientation.

The suit follows a string of others filed by employees since 2017, including a whistleblower complaint and one alleging retaliation for calling out racial discrimination.

Christensen, who worked at Denver Health since 2012, was fired in January. His complaint details a litany of abuse.

Christensen was the object of harassment by one superior in particular. Lt. Christopher Pattinson, since fired for stealing fentanyl, would disparage the paramedic’s appearance with comments like, “Do they make those pants in a man’s size?”

Another mocked Christensen by saying, “Oh that’s right, you wouldn’t have kids.” According to Christensen, the same superior flashed a white power sign in a photo taken during an awards ceremony for a Black paramedic.

Christensen said the abuse started in earnest after he came out on social media.

“I always felt nervous for my job, and I always felt like I was doing something wrong,” he told Denver7 News. “I felt humiliated in front of my coworkers many times. It was embarrassing to be singled out.”

According to the suit, Denver Health brought in outside investigators to address growing complaints among staff in 2019. One investigator “encouraged Mr. Christensen to complain to the Defendant’s HR department and retain counsel due to the ongoing harassment.” Christensen claims his reports were ignored and the harassment only got worse. He also alleges he was singled out for disciplinary action while co-workers escaped scrutiny for the same actions.

Spencer Kontnik, Christensen’s attorney, said the hospital turned a “blind eye” to the paramedic’s complaints in violation of its own anti-discrimination policies.

“It was so egregious to the extent that Mr. Christensen started waiting in his car and hiding in his car before he went into work so he didn’t have to deal with that type of harassment,” the attorney said.

According to the suit, the abuse only ended with Christensen’s termination, when the paramedic was accused of mistreating a patient.

“I was treating a patient with superiors, including Lt. Chris Pattinson,” Christensen recounted. “I was brought up to discuss that call by myself without them, and I was terminated. We were all three actively treating the exact same patient who ultimately walked out of the hospital, gave us a hug and actually thanked us for the treatment that we provided her.”

“We want Denver Health to be held accountable for what it did,” said Christensen’s attorney. “He lost his career. He lost his profession.”

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Anti-LGBTQ hate group sues CVS after nurse that refused to dispense birth control gets fired

Previous article

Joel Kim Booster responded to Billy Eichner’s comments about streaming films like “Fire Island”

Next article