Can you be fired for expressing political views that don’t align with those of your boss? Increasingly, it seems, you can but more of these cases are winding up in the courts. Given what just happened to a Mobile County (Alabama) Sheriff’s Office captain, there seems to be a good chance the courts will be involved in another one of these situations.
Shane Stringer was fired from his law enforcement job with the Mobile Sheriff’s Office last week. The alleged reason: his support for a constitutional carry bill currently under consideration in the Yellowhammer State. But Stringer isn’t just a police captain, he’s also a state legislator.
From lawofficer.com . . .
Department spokesperson, Lori Myles, told AL.com that “Sheriff Sam Cochran made the decisions Wednesday, May 12, because of different political views held by his administration.”
Myles indicated “Stringer’s sponsorship of legislation supportive of constitutional carry ran afoul of the Sheriff’s views on the issue,” the outlet noted.
Stringer issued a public statement on the firing including this . . .
“The Second Amendment gun rights of Alabamians are under attack from a liberal federal government that is out of control and even from some factions right here at home,” Stringer, who previously served as the chief of the Satsuma Police Department, said in a statement. “After dedicating my life and career to law enforcement, losing a job because I stand in support of Alabama gun owners is certainly surprising, but nothing will discourage me from defending the constitutional guarantees promised to all of us as American citizens.”
Stringer claims Mobile Sheriff Sam Cochran told him he was being canned “because he is sponsoring ‘constitutional carry’ gun rights legislation as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives.”
So just to recap, a cop — who is also a state elected official — has been fired for lawful activities and views he espouses and supports as part of the normal legislative process (allegedly…although neither the Sheriff or his spokesperson seem to be denying the reason for the firing). In other words, he’s been canned because of his political views.
Alabama is an “at will” employment state, but that doesn’t mean employers are free to discriminate against individuals who work for them. Rep. Stringer may have a good state or even a federal case for being dismissed based on his political beliefs. We’d guess he’s already found a good attorney and is about to relieve the taxpayers of Mobile County of a good portion of their money.