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Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:10 PM

Ohio woman claims she was fired for Obama vote

Source: Yahoo/AP

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) A southwest Ohio woman who says she was fired because she voted for President Barack Obama filed a lawsuit against her former employer.

Patricia Kunkle's lawsuit accuses Dayton-based defense contractor Q-Mark Inc. and its president of telling employees that if Obama was re-elected, then his supporters would be the first to be fired, The Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/YxE10A) reported.

Brian Wildermuth, an attorney for the company president, said in a statement that Kunkle was laid off for economic reasons "nothing more."

****


The lawsuit, filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on Feb. 14, seeks a minimum of $25,000. It says that Kunkle's vote came up in conversation on Nov. 7, the day after the election, and that she was fired Nov. 9. The suit claims that the company's president and owner, Roberta Gentile, said the firing was in the "best interest of the company."

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/ohio-woman-claims-she-fired-obama-vote-143706582.html

48 replies, 4645 views

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Arrow 48 replies Author Time Post
Reply Ohio woman claims she was fired for Obama vote (Original post)
Tommy_Carcetti Feb 2013 OP
DollarBillHines Feb 2013 #1
msanthrope Feb 2013 #8
Jamaal510 Feb 2013 #2
Tommy_Carcetti Feb 2013 #6
msanthrope Feb 2013 #9
Tommy_Carcetti Feb 2013 #13
msanthrope Feb 2013 #14
Ash_F Feb 2013 #15
Spitfire of ATJ Feb 2013 #3
msanthrope Feb 2013 #5
Spitfire of ATJ Feb 2013 #12
msanthrope Feb 2013 #4
Tommy_Carcetti Feb 2013 #7
msanthrope Feb 2013 #10
Ikonoklast Feb 2013 #17
onenote Feb 2013 #40
Ezlivin Feb 2013 #11
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #16
Douglas Carpenter Feb 2013 #18
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #20
CitizenPatriot Feb 2013 #23
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #25
CitizenPatriot Feb 2013 #30
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #33
Douglas Carpenter Feb 2013 #24
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #28
Douglas Carpenter Feb 2013 #29
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #32
Douglas Carpenter Feb 2013 #48
eggplant Feb 2013 #26
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #31
obama2terms Feb 2013 #19
midwest irish Feb 2013 #21
EC Feb 2013 #22
patrice Feb 2013 #27
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #34
patrice Feb 2013 #36
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #37
patrice Feb 2013 #38
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #39
patrice Feb 2013 #41
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #42
patrice Feb 2013 #43
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #44
Doctor_J Feb 2013 #35
Douglas Carpenter Feb 2013 #46
lbrtbell Feb 2013 #45
Douglas Carpenter Feb 2013 #47

Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:17 PM

1. "Defense contractor"?

http://www.qmarkinc.com/

What do they produce?

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Response to DollarBillHines (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:25 PM

8. You have the wrong q-mark--this is dayton, ohio, q-mark.....

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:18 PM

2. Again,

what happened to all the freedom and Constitution touting from Republicans here? Surely her former employer knows that people have a Constitutional right to vote for whoever they want. Besides, why was it any of this guy's business anyway?

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Response to Jamaal510 (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:23 PM

6. Unfortunately, Ohio--like almost all states--is at-will employment.

Meaning that an employer can fire you for just about any stupid reason, so long as it isn't blatantly discriminatory (race, sex, etc.).

They can fire you even if they don't like the color shirt you're wearing.

(And that's not hyperbole--see here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/elizabeth-r-wellborn-pa_n_1363609.html )

It's a ridiculous law, yet almost universally accepted.

Some localities have laws against termination based on political affiliation or identity, but I don't believe there's a national law to that extent. Let's hope that such a law exists where this woman works.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:25 PM

9. See below, I think she has a case based on Ohio code....nt

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:33 PM

13. You might be right.

Let's cross our fingers.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:34 PM

14. I have case-envy. nt

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:46 PM

15. We need worker's rights reform.

They also failed to pay her overtime which is a violation of federal law.

"The suit also said Kunkle was paid $12 per hour, was not paid overtime for hours she worked in excess of 40 hours and is not exempt from OT pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act."

Just a bad company run by bad people.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:19 PM

3. He should lose his defense contract.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:22 PM

5. She--the employer/owner is Roberta Gentile. nt

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:30 PM

12. ......must resist name pun.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:22 PM

4. She has a case--Ohio has a specific law regarding employment and voting.....


3599.05 Corrupt practices - employer shall not influence political opinions or votes of employees.


No employer or his agent or a corporation shall print or authorize to be printed upon any pay envelopes any statements intended or calculated to influence the political action of his or its employees; or post or exhibit in the establishment or anywhere in or about the establishment any posters, placards, or hand bills containing any threat, notice, or information that if any particular candidate is elected or defeated work in the establishment will cease in whole or in part, or other threats expressed or implied, intended to influence the political opinions or votes of his or its employees.

Whoever violates this section is guilty of corrupt practices, and shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than one thousand dollars.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953


http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3599.05


This could end up making new law in Ohio. If I were Gentile, I would start settlement talks.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:24 PM

7. Good to know.

Unfortunately, political identity is not a universally accepted grounds of actionable discrimination yet, so she's at the mercy of where she lives.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:26 PM

10. Absolutely--the fact that she's in Ohio is what makes this possible. She'd have little recourse

elsewhere.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 03:05 PM

17. My former employer called a meeting with all employees back when Raygun was running for president.

He started by telling us that if we didn't vote Republican, we'd all lose our jobs.

In Ohio.

Holy crap did he ever get in trouble.

First off, it was a unionized shop, and as soon as he started talking politics almost everyone got up and left.

He tried to stop us, but we told him politics was a 'no-no' to base a meeting on and he couln't stop us from leaving, and if he didn't like it, to call the local and complain to a business rep.

Second was when a mandatory meeting was called by the employer which for some employees was off the schedule for them, which violated terms of our contract for 'off-the-clock' work, and demanded that they got paid for their time (four hour minimum for a 'call-in' from the employer)...after we filed a grievance with the local, and they in turn also turned it over to Wage and Hour.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:00 PM

40. Her attorneys don't sound like its anything close to a slam dunk

I'm sure that they are aware of that statute but the quotes attributed to them talk about their hope of creating an exception and making "new law." Sounds like the plaintiff is not in the strongest legal position.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:26 PM

11. Ideological purity dictates this

Other things on their To-Do list:

Fire any employee
  • who expects government help in the form of Social Security;

  • who does not shout "under God" when saying the Pledge;

  • who does not cover his/her heart when singing the national anthem;

  • who is not a registered Republican;

  • who does not get all of their news from Fox;

  • who is gay;

  • who is atheist;

  • who is female;

  • whose skin is too dark.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:57 PM

16. Why would anyone announce their vote in such circumstances?

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 03:49 PM

18. maybe because it is a protected right in a non-totalitarian society?

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Response to Douglas Carpenter (Reply #18)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 04:10 PM

20. What is protected

is your right to keep your vote to yourself. That's why cameras, reporters etc are not allowed in polling places, and there are privacy booths. No one has the right to insist you reveal your vote. A bit of common sense would have gone a long way here. Seems to me the plaintiff in this case was daring the company to fire her. Perhaps she already knew her days were numbered. In any case, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

BTW, wherever did you get the idea that this is a non-totalitarin society? When peaceful demonstrators are tear gassed, a city can order the cell phone service for a specific location be blocked, or the police can demand your cell phone records and the carriers do regular dumps, that doesn't indicate a 'free society to me'

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #20)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 04:41 PM

23. appreciate what you're saying

but consider people in small towns where a sign in their yard is all their boss/neighbor needs in order to know how they voted.

This has happened to people I know (in red states with at will employment). So now they don't put signs up. Seems restrictive to me, but I'm no lawyer.

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Response to CitizenPatriot (Reply #23)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 04:51 PM

25. It is restrictive...

Many communities don't allow signs in the yards...property values don'cha know? That's also restrictive. I think signs are not as valuable as they once were, there are so many ways to get the message out there. Of course, employers can always look at FB pages. People destroy their own privacy and then become indignant when they pay the price for it.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #25)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:21 PM

30. I hear that

I agree that they should know better, but on the other hand, I mourn that people have to hide their affiliations for fear of retaliation.

Imagine if Democrats were firing conservatives for this. We'd never hear the end of the howls don't tread on me etc.

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Response to CitizenPatriot (Reply #30)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:28 PM

33. There must have been a history of it...

or there wouldn't be laws protecting your right to keep your vote to yourself.

I agree that in today's climate it's the conservatives behaving badly....At other times in our history it has been Dems behaving badly.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #20)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 04:47 PM

24. if people are not free to casually express their opinions about politics we have surely passed into

the world of totalitarianism. This was the world of the old Stalinist Soviet Era or Fascist Europe. The ability to informally say one's opinion without fear of retribution is as basic a right as one can possibly imagine. Those that challenge attempts to squash freedom are the one's who protect it for all of us. Perhaps Mrs. Parks should have quietly given up her seat. But she just had to make a big fuss. It is those who are willing to make a big fuss that keep us free to the extent that we are free.

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Response to Douglas Carpenter (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:02 PM

28. To compare this woman to Rosa Parks

serves only to diminish what Mrs. Parks accomplished and her courage. Mrs. Parks made no attempt to sue the bus company for 'damages'

As I said, it will be interesting to see how this plays out, because there are a lot of people who have made their political affiliations known on Facebook, and employers have been looking at BF for years.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:11 PM

29. oh Bull

Defending one's right to casually and informally express their opinion without the slightest fear of retribution is as basic a human right as one can possibly imagine and is every bit as basic a human right as the right of African-Americans to be free from discrimination. Defending the right to have an opinion and express that opinion in an informal setting with the people they are around goes to the absolute core of what it would mean to live in anything even pretending to be a free society. It is beyond my conception that anyone raised in a western democracy would not know that.

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Response to Douglas Carpenter (Reply #29)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:25 PM

32. If you say so....

why don't we wait to see how this plays out in court?

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #32)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 09:31 PM

48. Anyone who does not see the absolute importance of defending the right of someone to casually and

informally express their opinion in their work environment does not have a clue what it means to live as a free people. It is shocking that anyone in a western democracies does not already know that and would be prepared to surrender that fundamental human right and consider it not that important. The Orwellian world may be arriving if even on a progressive discussion forum there are those who don't hold this right sacred.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #20)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 04:55 PM

26. wait, what?

yea, if she's only stayed in the closet / worn the burqa / didn't dress so slutty / hadn't been asking for it / made her politics known she wouldn't have gotten canned. Uppity democrats, what do they expect?

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Response to eggplant (Reply #26)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:24 PM

31. How ridiculous...

We are talking about the issue of keeping your vote private...Why do you think they have privacy booths at the polling places?

I never said I didn't want her to win this case, although I'm not certain how they will go about proving she was fired simply for voting for Obama. If Ohio wrote their right to work laws along the same lines as Florida's, the employer may be unable to prove there was any other cause. FL law says an employer does not have to give you a reason for your dismissal.

If her case turns out to be a weak, it can hamper future attempts to stop employers from using this as a weapon.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 04:02 PM

19. Poor lady

I hope she's able to find another place to work. My boss is a republican, lucky for me she respects differing views!

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 04:16 PM

21. Q-Mark

 

does federal defense contracting with WPAFB in Dayton. Check their contract with the Air Force. I am positive it says partisan politics is NOT to be a part of company decisions. I know, Ive seen about a billion of these contracts while at Wright-Patt. Ergo, this company can very well lose their contract with the Base.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 04:31 PM

22. Good.

All these owners that did this need a reality check. Hopefully she'll win.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:00 PM

27. "At Will" employment can be LEGALIZED DISCRIMINATION. If it's illegal to discriminate on race, age,

and gender, why is it legal to discriminate on anything else that doesn't affect job performance?

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Response to patrice (Reply #27)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:33 PM

34. That's it exactly...

legalized discrimination...but it is difficult to prove that it wasn't poor job performance that led to the termination. This case is important for so many reasons, not the least of which is FB and the way so many people post their lives on it and so many employers read, or have someone else, read those posts.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #34)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:35 PM

36. I'm sure that does happen, so there's an added 1st Amendment dimension to this particular issue.

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Response to patrice (Reply #36)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:41 PM

37. yes, there is....

But if it goes badly for the plaintiff it will hamper future attempts to stop lousy employers from abusing their position in this regard. What may work in her favor is the statement by the employer that Obama supporters would be the first to go. However, our judicial system is nothing if not arbitrary.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #37)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:48 PM

38. Like I have heard citizens from the wrong side of town say, "American Just Us". nt

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Response to patrice (Reply #38)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:50 PM

39. I'm sorry,

I don't know what that means "American Just Us" Would you mind explaining?

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #39)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:16 PM

41. I wasn't sure either. When I first heard it, I was helping an African American lady minister friend

of mine whom I had met around the Quakers and who was doing family service work with families of prisoners and ex-cons. I went to Juneteenth with her and was filling my time, wandering around as I socialized, by asking people if I could ask them a question, which was "What is justice?" Several people, women, now that I think about it and recall, tried to talk about it a little (that's not surprising since there were several service oriented booths there and those people were probably more used to talking about things). A couple of times people said, simply, "Just us." I had to think about it for a couple of hours, but I feel pretty certain that they were referring to how justice is for sale in the USA, so it's only for those who can afford it.

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Response to patrice (Reply #41)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:22 PM

42. Thanks...

That sounds about right. I knew it had to be something that indicated how little justice is available to the AA community. That's a really clever way of saying it too! I'll have to remember it.

We have so many really serious problems in this county...I become quite discouraged sometimes.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #42)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:57 PM

43. Discouraging . . . to me too. The only remedy I know of: one. concrete. step. at. a. time.

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Response to patrice (Reply #43)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:59 PM

44. Agreed.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:33 PM

35. If I owned a business I would lean toward firing all Repukes

I wouldn't want stupid, malignant people working for me

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #35)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 09:11 PM

46. that is exactly the kind of thinking that makes it possible to fire people for supporting Obama

Last edited Wed Feb 20, 2013, 10:32 PM - Edit history (1)

I cannot imagine anything worse than living in a society where one's political ideology was a litmus test in determining someone's employment. That sounds like the earlier days of Communist Eastern Europe or Fascist Western Europe in the 30's or in more recent times - Iran when the Mullah's first came to power.

I don't know why any nice person who is reasonably intelligent would be a Republicans - but I know several and have known several over the years. It boggles my mind. But there is more to life than just politics. If I had a business and unless the business was political consulting for people of specific political leanings - I would no more care what their politics were (perhaps short of being something like a Nazi or Klansman) than care what their race, color, religion or sexual orientation was. I would simply want people who could and would do their jobs and be able to work with others. I have had managers and coworkers who were Republicans who great bosses or coworkers and I have had managers and coworkers who were Democrats who were terrible bosses or coworkers and of course vice versa. The goodness of one's heart, their functioning common sense, their work ethic and their ability and willingness to work with others has no more to do with one's political ideology than their race, color, religion or sexual orientation.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 07:39 PM

45. The boss is a dick, but Kunkle was an idiot

You never, ever let anyone know whom you're voting for, esp. if your employer is a brain-dead neo-clown. That's like working for a hard-line Catholic, and asking for time off because you're having an abortion.

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Response to lbrtbell (Reply #45)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 09:16 PM

47. I find it absolutely horrifying that some people here on DU do not grasp the absolute importance of

defending the right of someone to casually and informally express their opinions in their work environment. To not fight for that right is to surrender to a new dark age of a Orwellian culture. Perhaps 1984 is coming - but just a few decades late.

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