A woman in Ohio is suing her former employer because she believes she was fired for voting for Obama. Patricia Kunkle worked for defense-contractor Q-Mark Inc., owned by Roberta Gentile, and is claiming that Gentile threatened employees and told them they would be terminated if Obama was re-elected, starting with those who actually voted for the incumbent.
Kunkle explains that her voting preferences were revealed in a conversation on November 7 and that two days later she was laid off, having been told her termination was in the "best interest of the company."
Kunkle is seeking $25,000 in damages, but Gentile retorts:
Ms. Kunkle was laid off for economic reasons -- nothing more. 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.
This sounds like a big old case of she said, she said, but it's not like Kunkle has to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she was terminated for voting for Obama. A law professor told the Dayton Daily News that all she has to do is prove she wasn't fired for economic reasons, not necessarily prove she was let go because of her political leanings.
But if Gentile really did threaten everyone who voted for Obama, that's, officially speaking, not cool. That's a no-can-do in the old employment world, and Gentile should face consequences.
I'm a big fan of not talking politics at work -- you have to see these people 40 hours a week and getting along, at least superficially, is ideal -- and I'm an even bigger fan of my bosses not telling me who I can and cannot vote for. I feel for Kunkle.
Here's to justice being served, whatever the outcome may be.
Do you talk politics at work?
Photo via Patrick Feller/Flickr