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Public employer? Beware retaliation against employee who testifies in civil rights case

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in Firing,Human Resources

Ordinarily, civil servants have qualified immunity for actions arising from their official duties as government workers. But punishing a subordinate for testifying in a civil rights lawsuit clearly destroys that immunity.

Recent case: Martha was an ad­­min­­istrative assistant for the Mount­­lake Terrace Police Depart­­ment, primarily performing clerical duties such as an­­swering the phone and making copies.

When a former police officer sued the department, alleging it violated his civil rights when he spoke out against the “war on drugs,” Martha received a subpoena to testify under oath about what she knew. She told the court that the assistant police chief, who recommended firing the officer, had a reputation as a “back stabber.”

Shortly after, the assistant chief told the police chief he thought Martha should be transferred and placed on probation. Soon, Martha found herself in a new job that re­­quired months of extra training. But just a few weeks later, the assistant chief recommended firing Martha for poor performance.

She sued, alleging that her termination was retaliation for testifying in a civil rights lawsuit. She added the assistant chief as a defendant. He claimed immunity.

The court rejected his request. It said that firing someone who testifies under subpoena in a civil rights suit violates that individual’s free speech rights. Because that concept is well accepted, the assistant chief couldn’t plead ignorance and wasn’t entitled to immunity. (Karl v. City of Mountlake Terrace, No. 11-35343, 9th Cir., 2012)

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Malcolm Kyle August 19, 2012 at 4:35 am

* A rather large majority of people will always feel the need to use drugs such as heroin, opium, nicotine, amphetamines, alcohol, sugar, or caffeine.

* The massive majority of adults who use drugs do so recreationally – getting high at the weekend then up for work on a Monday morning.

* Apart from the huge percentage of people addicted to both sugar and caffeine, a small minority of adults (nearly 5%) will always experience the use of drugs as problematic. Approx. 3% are dependent on alcohol and approx. 1.5% are dependent on other drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroine etc.

* Just as it was impossible to prevent alcohol from being produced and used in the U.S. in the 1920s, so too, it is equally impossible to prevent any of the aforementioned drugs from being produced, distributed and widely used by those who so desire.

* Prohibition kills more people and ruins more lives than the drugs it prohibits.

* Due to Prohibition (historically proven to be an utter failure at every level), the availability of most of these mood-altering drugs has become so universal and unfettered that in any city of the civilized world, any one of us would be able to procure practically any drug we wish within an hour.

* Throughout history, the prohibition of any mind-altering substance has always exploded usage rates, overcrowded jails, fueled organized crime, created rampant corruption of law-enforcement, even whole governments while inducing an incalculable amount of suffering and death.

* The CIA was/is running Heroin from Vietnam, Southeast Asia and Afghanistan, and moving Cocaine from Central America. This has been well documented by the 1989 Kerry Committee, as well as academic researchers such as Alfred McCoy, Peter Dale Scott, and the late Gary Webb.

* It’s not even possible to keep drugs out of prisons, but prohibitionists wish to waste trillions of dollars in an utterly futile attempt to keep them off our streets.

* The United States jails a larger percentage of it’s own citizens than any other country in the world, including those run by the worst totalitarian regimes, yet it has far higher use/addiction rates than most other countries.

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