Ann Maher Apr. 14, 2014, 4:17pm

A former school bus transportation worker who claims he was harassed and discriminated against because he is homosexual has had his lawsuit removed to federal court.

Robert Keith Mellenthin sued First Student, his former supervisor and co-workers in February in Madison County Circuit Court claiming he was subjected to a hostile work environment.

Defense attorneys Amy Nixon and Latieke Lyles of Littler Mendelson of St. Louis removed the case to district court in East St. Louis on April 7 stating that federal court has original jurisdiction in matters alleging civil rights violations.

Mellenthin claims he reported the alleged harassment to management but First Student failed to take action. He claims he then filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Illinois Department of Human Rights. As a result, he claims he was written up for disciplinary actions.

He claims First Student retaliated against him by constructively discharging him for having filed the charges with the EEOC and the human rights agency.

The suit also names Mike Halbe as supervisor for First Student and CartezParks and Curtis Tucker as employees who allegedly participated in harassing Mellenthin. The removal notice was filed on behalf of First Student, Halbe and Tucker. It states that defendants have no record of Parks having been served.

Mellenthin seeks in excess of $50,000 in damages plus costs

He is represented by Michael J. Brunton of Brunton Law Offices in Collinsville.

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