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Park District Allowed To Fire Worker For Answers It Didn’t Like

CINCINNATI (CN) - The Geauga Park District in Ohio did not violate a park ranger's First Amendment rights when it fired her for honestly answering a consultant's questions, the Sixth Circuit ruled.

Denise Weisbarth told Richard Sherwood, whom GDP hired to assess employee morale and performance, that she disliked "nearly all of her co-workers." She was fired, allegedly for speaking candidly and giving answers the GDP didn't like. "Although firing Weisbarth based on her assessment of department morale and performance may seem highly illogical or unfair," Judge Gilman wrote, "it does not violate the First Amendment." But the circuit added that any action an employer takes against an employee based on work-related speech might lead to anti-discrimination whistleblower or labor-contract claims. See ruling in Weisbarth v. Geauga Park District.

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