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.
Sue the a**off em, it’s the only thing that makes an impression on em!!
Suing the county and getting even millions of dollars will not stop the bullshit. these scumbags don’t care about taxpayer money. Sheriff Cochran needs to be recalled. That is the only thing that will send a message to the next sheriff.
^^This right here is definitely the solution.^^
He should run for sheriff and take his job. It would be the ultimate troll. Then send out a tweet – “Thanks for playing Cochran.”
Honest question…when an elected official (politician, Sheriff, whatever) is recalled by popular vote, does that also cancel out any “golden parachute” benefits that office holder would have otherwise gotten?
That would send a stronger message.
I see no mention of recall of a Sheriff in AL.
Have to run someone to BEAT the prog in the next election.
“Myles also said the sheriff had concerns about the law enforcement officer-turned-legislator’s support of legislation forbidding state and local law enforcement from enforcing new federal gun laws or executive orders that conflict with the Second Amendment, AL.com reported.”
Apparently the dumbass Sheriff thinks he works for DC.
Hear! Hear! Well said. Time to turn out officials who don’t support the Constitution is long past.
But it doesn’t make an impression
. It doesn’t out of their pocket, it’s taxpayer money. Would be nice it if it was out of their paycheck.
Good luck finding a judge that isn’t in the Lefts back pocket.
Getting fired from a sheriff office for disagreeing with the sheriff is common regardless of the issue.
Do it to a deputy, and you should get sued.
Do it to a command officer you appointed, and it’s too bad, so sad. (or fodder for a recall election if the state law allows it and the voters don’t like what you did)
It’s like a mayor firing the police chief for not properly advocating the political position the mayor issued to him along with his general’s stars.
Firing a member of the legislature because of his vote may be illegal in and of itself. It is sort of like offering a bribe after all.
As long as Stringer did not act as an agent of the sheriff, at the time he voiced support for C.C.,he should retain the rights of any other citizen. It appears that he acted as a legislator in support of the issue, voicing his own opinion.
Agree! Stringer was acting as a State Legislator and it had nothing to do with the SO. Now had he been attending a rally supporting this Bill in Uniform then he could and probably should be fired but he was NOT acting in any way as a Capt. of the Mobile Sheriffs Office. Sue the Sheriff, not the county and if he is allowed to by law, then run for Sheriff himself if he so desires.
Freedom of speech. Not in America by gawd.
And let this be a lesson to any of the other law enforcement officers who uphold their oath to protect the Constitution.
You’ll be FIRED ! ! !
Sheriffs are elected officials and are political. The deputies are not elected to office, but still retain their rights as citizens. If the department had a policy, that political office holders could not also be deputies and/or reserve deputies, as it might be a conflict of interest, then that would be legal, as the individual would have to chose one or the other, fair enough.
This situation is no different than a newly elected sheriff firing all democrats or republicans, etc, who don’t share his views. I don’t see how this is defensible in court as its a legislator’s job to propose and vote on legislation. Too bad the Sheriff can’t be sued personally, however in many counties, the sheriff can be dismissed for cause by the county government if he has broken the law, etc.
Perhaps we will see justice done.
A few decades ago…A police officer in Virginia decided to run against an incumbent and corrupt Sheriff. The Chief of Police didn’t like him doing this, but he stood his ground. He won the legal issue, and the election…
OFF TOPIC: The Supreme Court crushed police firearm confiscation in Caniglia v. Strom under the “community caretaking” canard. It was unanimous.
When Breyer and Sotomayor think your gun grabbing goes to far, it really goes too far.
Now, why did the First Circuit panel think it was OK to rob the guy’s home?
Breyer and Sotomayor voted in favor of the decision? Were they struck by lightening? Did somebody on the court’s staff drug them? I wouldn’t be more astounded if you posted that you observed Jesus Christ preaching in Central Park. Are you sure it was unanimous? It must be a printing error. Maybe I really am the heir of a recently deceased member of African royalty and there really is 5 million dollars in a trust account for me in a bank in Switzerland. If those two voted to honor gun rights and protect against warrantless invasions of one homes, the earth must be reversing its rotation and the sun will rise in the west tomorrow.
sounds like a textbook lawsuit
I hope this serves as a reminder to those who seem to think sheriffs are magic.
The fact that a sheriff is elected doesn’t make him a superhero of constitutionality. It makes him a politician who (at best) represents the values of his constituents. Freedom-loving rural people vote for freedom-loving rural sheriffs. Statist urban scumbags vote for statist urban scumbags.
Progressives need some sort of identifier so they can tell who deserves to have a job or not, maybe some sort of lapel pin signifying membership in the correct party?
oma gosh durn shux, well i’ll be. originalist equity. when’s the other shoe dropping?
If it’s not Jim Crow Gun Control joe it’s some pompous Jim Crow Gun Control sheriff who by all accounts isn’t worth spit as a man. Sue the ratbassturd.
Was he using his position as a member of the sheriff’s department to speak out, or was this because of his being a state elected official who wants to support the new bill?
If he was doing this outside of his job with the department, I hope he is able to sue and get the Sheriff recalled.
Bad news: State Representative fired from his full time job for doing his legislative job.
Good news would be: Sheriff faces recall election for being a douche bag.
Does anybody still think that sheriffs are our friends? They’re just cops, and cops are nobody’s friends. Well, except other cops.
We used to have “libertarianism” in our Police Department’s decades ago. At least I think that we did. Because you always didn’t get a ticket. Because you always weren’t arrested. The police understood that sometimes all you needed to do was to talk to somebody.
Sometimes that “talk” involved using a nightstick. And sometimes the talk didn’t involve a nightstick. It was just talking. But either way the person who was stopped, didn’t have a criminal record, at the end of the day. Because they weren’t hauled into court.
“Police Should Sometimes Avert Their Eyes”
“For example, Breanna Taylor was shot subsequent to a drug bust. But under libertarianism, all drugs, without exception, would be legal. If the cops operated under the libertarian legal code, they would have refused to honor orders to arrest anyone for such a “crime.”
As I’ve said before I like the cops. But if you’re one of those cop haters? And you want the police defunded. Then let people like me start to shoot these criminals dead on sight. When they riot in the streets. When they burn and loot.
I understand the problem with Ms. Taylor that nobody is talking about is the dead body that was discovered in the trunk of her car when it was searched sometime after her demise. I don’t know if the search was at the request of the heirs or some other reason but I only saw one mention of it and then nothing. That is always so embarrassing when you open your trunk and there is a dead body in there. I hate when that happens, especially when a cop is standing right there. He never seems to understand that is not something to get all up tight about. It happens lots of times.
The rule for “at will” employment is that you can fire anyone for no reason or for a good reason, but you cannot fire someone for a “bad” reason. Firing someone for expressing views in a legislative body (speech which is immunized) not only violates the at will employment law, it violates the First Amendment, as the Sheriff is a governmental actor. Sorry Sheriff, you done him wrong!
Mark, you’re a lawyer and I’m not, IIRC. However, my understanding was that “at will” referred to private employment, not government jobs such as LE, DA, Senate, etc. Is that wrong? Because that’s the way it *should be*, as well, if it’s not we should change it. “At will” relies on the profit motive to keep it honest, and there is no profit in a taxpayer financed job.
The article said he was at will, so I ran with that. I have to assume some small departments are that way, while larger ones are all most certainly public service jobs that are not at will and have a built in grievance procedure by contract. Either way, I think this sheriff has a problem.
CCW fees in Mobile go to the Sheriff’s discretionary fund. At least, they did when I lived there. Pretty sure it’s that way statewide. That’s a lot of money Alabama Sheriffs wouldn’t get to play with.
I live in Alabama. A couple of years ago, I was in my favorite shop about to buy a gun when they pointed out a bulletin from the ATF that said that Alabama CCW permits can no longer be used to bypass the 4473 being called in. I’m not worried about a BG check, but being able to use your permit sure does speed up the process! It turns out that the sheriffs were just issuing CCW permits WITHOUT running any kind of background check and the ATF found out about it. What this tells me is that it’s not about public safety; it’s about pistol permit revenue. My permit in Montgomery County is $20/year and that would be quite a loss in revenue to the Sheriff’s dept. if everyone were allowed to exercise his right to carry.
Yup. The Sheriff’s Assn. has killed constitutional carry for years over the money.
Regarding the permit waiving the BG checks: As I recall, it was a couple of Sheriffs in North AL. Someone on this forum even commented (when I labeled the sheriffs as dumbasses) that the sheriffs were just following the 2A and that BG Checks were unconstitutional-but they were still charging for, and issuing, CCPs, so their actions were not a righteous protest.
I get the arguments for issuing the permits because the 2A is the supreme law of the land, but I draw delays from the NICS checks because I have to undergo constant security clearances having to do with CBP, but it’s a pain in the butt.
Can the state AG file a civil rights criminal case against the sheriff? Or can the Alabama Governor fire the sheriff, similar to Sheriff Israel situation?
“Can you be fired for expressing political views that don’t align with those of your boss?”
Ask Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier. Apparently you aren’t allowed to call out the push for Marxism and racism.
To prevent undue influence from a Sheriff, all S.O. appointees should be made ineligible for elected office or any other appointed position while serving as a S.O. appointee.
Neither the author nor any commenters noticed something about this.
Regardless of the sheriff doing this, the captain violated the Hatch Act. He can’t run or sit in a seat in a partisan office if he works for a government agency that accepts any federal funding.
The former Rhode Island Attorney General was forced to immediately retire from the Pautucket Police Department because he was a state rep and a friend of mine filed a Hatch Act complaint with the Office of Special Council.
Actually in an “at will” state they can definitely fire you for that. Unless it’s protected like religion, race, gender, etc you can be fired for whatever. If they don’t like your politics, your hair color or your cousins car, it’s all fair game and you are outta there. I’ve seen it happen many times.