Dayton, Ohio-based defense contracting company Q-Mark Inc. just settled a lawsuit with a former employee who claims she was fired because she voted for President Obama. The woman, Patricia Kunkle, and her legal team settled the lawsuit with Q-Mark outside of court.
In her lawsuit, Kunkle claims management at Q-Mark threatened to fire employees if President Obama won the 2012 election. The company allegedly told workers that those who voted for Obama would be the first to go. The day after the 2012 election, Kunkle’s voting preferences came up in conversation with her co-workers. The lawsuit says Q-Mark management made a pointed effort to elicit the political opinions of their employees in the days following the election. She was reportedly fired just two days after revealing she voted for President Obama.
In a June ruling, Judge Timothy S. Black ruled against all three of Q-Mark’s arguments attempting to rationalize their politically influenced decision to fire certain employees. Black wrote that state and federal statutes “clearly set forth public policy against persons threatening or intimidating others in an effort to compel their vote for a particular political candidate.”
Q-Mark argued that employee protection laws only speak to pre-election conduct but don’t expressly forbid a company from firing an employee after an election based on their vote. In response, Black wrote that “the court finds the Defendant’s argument unpersuasive.”
To put a bit of icing on the lawsuit cake, Kunkle also claimed she was never paid for overtime hours she worked with Q-Mark. Kunkle is not exempt from the overtime pay requirements set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In total, Kunkle was seeking a minimum of $25,000 in payments from her former employer. It is not known how much money the two sides settled on outside of court.