DAYTON, Ohio, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- An Ohio woman is suing her former employer, alleging she was fired for voting for President Barack Obama, court records showed.
The suit, filed by Patricia Kunkle of Kettering, seeks more than $25,000 from Q-Mark Inc., a defense contractor in Dayton, and Roberta Gentile, its owner and president, the Dayton Daily News reported Tuesday.
Kunkle alleges Gentile told employees last year some would lose their jobs if Obama were re-elected and the president's supporters would be the first to go. Kunkle said her support for Obama arose in conversation the day after the Nov. 6 election and she was fired Nov. 9 for what Gentile said was in the best interest of the company.
Karen Dunlevey, Kunkle's lawyer, said: "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. We're hoping that the court will recognize that and adopt a public policy exception for her."
"Ms. Kunkle was laid off for economic reasons -- nothing more," said Gentile's, attorney, Brian Wildermuth. "(There are) ongoing uncertainties regarding defense spending, and thus the economic environment confronting defense contractors. The allegation that Q-Mark discharged Ms. Kunkle because of her vote is simply false."
Dunlevey said the case will test conflicts in Ohio employment law, which prohibits employers' intimidation, retaliation or coercion regarding elections even though it provides for at-will employment --in which either employer or employee can terminate the relationship at any time with or without any advance warning.