An Ohio woman has filed a lawsuit against her former employer claiming she was fired for voting for President Barack Obama in November.
Patricia Kunkle of Dayton is suing defense contractor Q-Mark for $25,000, claiming her termination four days after Obama's re-election was based on the fact that she voiced her support for the incumbent president to co-workers.
During the presidential campaign, Kunkle said, the company's president and owner, Roberta “Bobbie” Gentile, warned employees that if Obama won there would be layoffs
, starting with those who supported him.
"Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, taking it to the extreme of impairing somebody’s career because they disagree with your political choices is just wrong," Kunkle’s attorney Karen Dunlevey told the Dayton Daily News
. "We’re hoping that the court will recognize that and adopt a public policy exception for her."
Gentile’s attorney, Brian Wildermuth, said Kunkle's firing had nothing to do with her political affiliation or who she voted for.
"Ms. Kunkle was laid off for economic reasons – nothing more," Wildermuth said in a statement in to the newspaper. "I am sure you and your readers are familiar with the ongoing uncertainties regarding defense spending, and thus the economic environment confronting defense contractors. The allegation that Q-Mark discharged Ms. Kunkle because of her vote is simply false."
Kunkle started at the company as a temporary worker in April 2012 and gained full-time status a month later. She claimed she never received negative reviews or disciplinary action for her work performance. Rather, she was praised for her work ethic.
The suit claims that Gentile discussed politics with Q-Mark employees and insulted Obama supporters on more than one occasion.
"This case, if they find in our favor, will be making new law," Dunlevey said. "But there is what’s called wrongful termination/violation of public policy in employment law cases."
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