DAYTON, Ohio — A southwest Ohio woman who says she was fired because she voted for President Barack Obama filed a lawsuit against her former employer.
Patricia Kunkle's lawsuit accuses Dayton-based defense contractor Q-Mark Inc. and its president of telling employees that if Obama was re-elected, then his supporters would be the first to be fired, The Dayton Daily News reported.
Brian Wildermuth, an attorney for the company president, said in a statement that Kunkle was laid off for economic reasons — “nothing more.”
“I am sure you and your readers are familiar with the ongoing uncertainties regarding defense spending, and thus the economic environment confronting defense contractors,” he said. “The allegation that Q-Mark discharged Ms. Kunkle because of her vote is simply false.”
Kunkle, of Kettering, has an unlisted phone number and her Dayton attorney didn't immediately respond to a request to speak with her.
The lawsuit, filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on Feb. 14, seeks a minimum of $25,000. It says that Kunkle's vote came up in conversation on Nov. 7, the day after the election, and that she was fired Nov. 9. The suit claims that the company's president and owner, Roberta Gentile, said the firing was in the “best interest of the company.”
The lawsuit said that Gentile engaged Q-Mark employees in conversations aimed at discovering their political affiliations and repeatedly disparaged Obama supporters.
Kunkle started as a temporary worker with the small company in April and became full-time in May, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit said that she performed her duties “efficiently and effectively,” and never received any disciplinary action or negative performance evaluations.
Defense attorneys have until mid-March to respond to the lawsuit.