Feb 202013

During the run-up to the election in November, we discussed the many corporate criminals who threatened their employees with termination if they voted for Obama.  As despicable as the behavior of these Republicans was, it appears that it was not just an empty threat in all cases.


A Kettering woman alleges in a lawsuit that she was fired for voting for President Obama, a charge the company denies.

Patricia Kunkle is seeking in excess of $25,000 from Dayton-based defense contractor Q-Mark, Inc. and its president and owner, Roberta “Bobbie” Gentile, in a suit filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. (What do you think: Are your politics any of your employer’s business?)

Kunkle’s lawsuit claims Gentile threatened employees with termination last year if President Obama was re-elected and that Obama supporters would be the first to be terminated if he were re-elected. Kunkle’s suit said her voting preferences came up in conversation the day after the election and that she was fired Nov. 9 for what the suit claims Gentile said was in the “best interest of the company.”

“Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, taking it to the extreme of impairing somebody’s career because they disagree with your political choices is just wrong,” said Kunkle’s attorney, Karen Dunlevey. “We’re hoping that the court will recognize that and adopt a public policy exception for her.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Daytona Daily News>

Frankly, it should be illegal for employers to threaten employees for their political views, let alone fire them.  The Republican War on the Poor and Middle Classes continues.


  18 Responses to “You Voted for Obama? You’re Fired!”

  1. It seems that as a defense contractor, she would be prohibited from employee discrimination for any reason. Otherwise, no more Federal money would be coming her way.

  2. It absolutely should be illegal! It goes against every Constitutional ethic and democratic standard for the country! It's voter suppression taken to extreme and reeks of plutocracy – or perhaps fascism.

  3. Corporations and small companys should not be allowed to discriminate against employees who vote 
    contrary to the corporation's / companies' official / unofficial position on candidates for office in any 
    election, national or local. The voter has rights to vote per their own personal political views.

    This woman should win her lawsuit with additional cash. This is an important case. This case may 
    wind up into the Supreme Court.


  4. Good grief – it is like Big Brother and 1984 – now they want to know your thoughts as well?!  Disgusting and sounds like any Fascist or Communist state!  I hope she wins her lawsuit!

  5. Could a legal case be made that this falls under the heading of "Unamerican Activities?"  I think those corporations certainly should be investigated and prosecuted – and then fined extremely heavily.  To interfere with an American presidential election with threats and coercion – that's pretty low and, in my humble opinion, it makes the CEO's traitors.   

  6. There is a flip side to this. When asked who you voted for, the proper answer is "none of your (expletive deleted) business." Of course, in most business circumstances, it might be better to leave out the (expletive deleted) part of the reply, but if an employer or a supervisory employee of that employer persists in that line of questioning, there are clear grounds for legal action.

    • John, I don't know how it happened, but when I was working, I often discussed politics during breaks, and helped several Republicans see the light.   To punish her for doing so violates her right to free speech under the First Amendment.

      • To the best of my knowledge, the First Amendment doesn't apply to private actors.  This would be governed under state or federal employment law.  There may be protections available under federal law under contracting regulations (the "FAR" or "DFAR"), and some state laws (not an Ohio lawyer).  If there was an a priori threat, that would be different, but if the sole case depends on the syllogism that (a) Employer hates Obama, (b) I voted for Obama, thus (c) I was fired for voting for Obama, then there is a bit of a proof problem (assuming that there is state law allowing recovery, which may not exist).

        • Welcome NdP. 🙂

          I wasn't arguing that shew has a First Amendment speech claim, but that John's siggestion that she should have kept her mouth shut about it is a First Amendment issue.  The employer had made a prior threat that abnyone voting for Obama would be fired.

  7. I think she has grounds for legal action, and I hope she wins.  That being said, we are all  aware that not all the judiciary are as noble as they should be, the outcome depends a lot on the judge she gets.

  8. In Canada, when hiring a person, it is illegal to ask gender, race, ethnicity, date of birth, sexual orientation, marital status, if any children, political affiliation, religion etc and social insurance number.  You may however ask if you are legally entitled to work in Canada.  It may not be on the application anywhere and during an interview it cannot be asked either.  Of course if someone is black or Asian for example, some things become more apparent.

    As far as firing, care must also be used and any firing has to be job related.  When I was terminated at my last job, the reason was officially "job redundancy", although I believe it was because I was hired by the AVP who was fired for cause.  I have checked and my position was indeed eliminated and my assistant now does the work that the 2 of us did.  A friend of mine that I had previously supervised and who was gay, was terminated for poor performance.  He took the Bank to court because he had all the proof that he had met or exceeded his goals.  The Bank had to pay up, and pay up big.

    Like John, if the owner had come to me, I would have told him "my vote, my business".  The 1st amendment to the Constitution says:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    From Wikipedia:

    Although it is not explicitly protected in the First Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled, in NAACP v. Alabama, freedom of association to be a fundamental right protected by it. In Roberts v. United States Jaycees, the Supreme Court held that associations may not exclude people for reasons unrelated to the group's expression.

    In my view, and I am not a lawyer, the right to vote your conscience and not how the employer dictates is covered in the 1st amendment.  A person's voting record should never enter into anything to do with employment.

    I am reminded of a situation, a hiring situation at my church years ago, when I was the head of the personnel committee.  We were hiring a church secretary, not a minister.  One committee member named Gary asked what religion an applicant was.  I instructed the applicant not to answer his question and then took Gary out of the room to remind him of the rules.  Eventually I had to turf Gary off the committee.  Even though it was a church, the secretary's job did not have anything to do with her religion.  Had her religion forbidden her to type using a computer or typewriter, then he could ask the applicant if there was any reason why she could not complete the job as outlined, but again not her religion.

    I hope this employee wins her lawsuit, and I hope the courts award her far more than the $25,000 she is seeking.  This is blatant violation of her constitutional and democratic rights, in my opinion.


  9. Lynn, I agree, and see my reply to John.

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