A former employee of a Florida police department is seeking financial compensation from the city of West Melbourne, alleging that he was fired because of political reasons. The man, who lost his job in 2012, claims that he was terminated because he donated to a political campaign in 2010. The wrongful termination suit says that the man’s First Amendment rights were violated when he lost his job, which the city claims was simply a restructuring move within the police department.
The suit alleges that the man was fired only after his previous supervisor also got the axe. The police chief was let go after he mishandled an incident involving staff members who stole drugs. The plaintiff in this case was terminated less than three weeks after a new police chief was installed. He is seeking some $75,000 in connection with the incident, which he says caused significant damage to his reputation and resulted in lost wages.
Reports show that the man had served as the director of support services for the West Melbourne Police Department. He has filed a federal complaint in the matter, alleging that he lost his job of 10 years after making a $100 campaign donation to a mayoral candidate. He did not realize that the donation exceeded certain contribution limits, so the money was returned. The man alleges that his donation was scrutinized by city council members, who publicly criticized the man for his political alignment.
In fact, it appears that the man’s donation became a sore spot for politicians throughout the area. The issue was debated by regional leaders because they did not support city employees’ donations to certain political candidates. City rules explicitly permit employees to make donations to the candidates of their choice.
This man chose to support a political campaign while working for the city. He followed all relevant rules regarding donations, and still he was punished. Victims of such workplace harassment and discrimination deserve compensation for their troubles in the form of financial awards.
Source: Floridatoday.com, “Ex-police staffer will sue City Hall” Stacey Barchenger, Nov. 08, 2013