The Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission has dismissed a complaint from an Omaha police captain who believed she was passed over for a promotion because of retaliation and gender discrimination.
Omaha Police Capt. Kathy Belcastro-Gonzalez contended that the Omaha Police Department failed to promote her to deputy chief because she had previously filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission over alleged gender discrimination. That complaint raised concerns about the fitness of a previous deputy chief candidate and whether proper procedures on investigating complaints and diversity measures were followed by the city’s Police Department.
Belcastro-Gonzalez was ranked No. 1 on a list of eight candidates to take one of the two open deputy police chief positions, two sources with knowledge of the ranking previously told The World-Herald. Police Chief Todd Schmaderer chose Capt. Ken Kanger and Capt. Michele Bang. They were Nos. 2 and 5 on the list, respectively, the sources said.
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Schmaderer said he chose the best people for the positions.
The Equal Opportunity Commission found no grounds for the claims of retaliation or gender discrimination, according to a copy of the decision obtained by The World-Herald.
“There is no evidence (the City of Omaha) declined to promote (Belcastro-Gonzalez) due to her sex or in retaliation for her previous complaint,” the decision reads. “The evidence shows (the City of Omaha) has promoted other individuals, in the same protected class as (Belcastro-Gonzalez) into senior management positions.”
An attorney for the city did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tom White, Belcastro-Gonzalez’s attorney, said his client hasn’t decided whether to pursue further legal action.
He said it’s “inexplicable” that a female captain who finished first on the deputy chief test was not promoted — “the only possible reason being she had complained about unfair and discriminatory employment practices in the department.”