04/06/2013 12:12 pm ET Updated Apr 06, 2013

Frank Cheatham, Fire Deputy, Suing City Of Phoenix Because Pasta Prank Amounting To Alleged Sexual Harassment

A Phoenix firefighter slapped the city with a lawsuit that claims he was demoted for complaining about co-workers who teased him with pasta shaped like genitalia.

After complaining about explicit graffiti in a firehouse in 2009, deputy chief Frank Cheatham alleges he was targeted by co-workers who disapproved that he blew the whistle, Fox News said.

He was instructed not to eat meals with other firefighters, KSAZ reported. Then, a piece of interoffice mail containing two pieces of genitalia-shaped pasta arrived. One resembled a penis and the other looked like a vagina, according to MSN. His name was written on the feminine dried noodle.

Cheatham, a 34-year veteran on the force, said in the federal lawsuit that he was reassigned to a lesser unit. He claims that his treatment is consistent with the department's pattern of retaliation against employees who complain about discrimination.

However, his title did not change and his pay was not cut, according to KPHO.

City officials didn't respond to requests for comment, the Associated Press reported.