One of the most bizarre ongoing stories in Grand Rapids political circles took an interesting turn recently, when a judge ruled that legislative aides who claim that they were fired for their refusal to help cover up an affair between two Tea Party representatives will be allowed to move forward with their wrongful termination claims.
The two aides claim that they were fired as part of a retaliation by the business offices of two respective staffers after they would not help to conceal an extramarital affair between the two Representatives. Following the discovery by the press of their affair, both congresspeople were charged with several counts of misconduct in public office, and one was charged with perjury, for the affair. A local news affiliate has confirmed that charges against one of the legislators were dropped.
On Monday, July 31st, the U.S. District Court Judge overseeing the case did away with the Michigan House of Representatives’ motion to dismiss the complaints by the former staff members, instead indicating that the plaintiffs were within their rights to pursue wrongful termination. The judge specified that because the charges included the misappropriation of public funds, the aides could be considered as acting in the interest of “public concern,” granting them the ability to move forward with whistleblower claims under both the First Amendment protections and state laws. The judge did, however, throw out the plaintiffs’ claims of privacy violations.
Regardless of the nature of the job, wrongful termination should never be tolerated. Those who believe that they have been let go under false pretenses may find the the representation of an experienced attorney can help protect their rights and ensure their claims are heard fairly.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “Judge Advances Suit Over Political Imbroglio,” Molly Willms, Aug. 02, 2016