ST. LOUIS – A federal jury awarded $75,000 to a former clerk for the Lincoln County Ambulance District who claimed she was fired for talking to a reporter. Dorothy Balaban received the award for lost wages and emotional distress caused by her firing in 2006.
Balaban was quoted in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article about disciplinary action taken against the district’s CFO Mia Farmer. Balaban supported Farmer in the article, claiming she was being disciplined for allowing Balaban to go on vacation a week early to visit her ill mother in Indiana.
The district fired Balaban after the article was published.
Missouri law states that while public employees can be fired for talking about personnel matters, they cannot be fired for speaking out on matters of public concern. Lincoln County is 55 miles northwest of St. Louis.