The right to vote is something that our country has valued from the beginning. When even the idea of America was just beginning to form, it was about freedom and democracy. It was about the ability to have the right as a group of citizens to vote not only on those who will run their country, but on the decisions that could significantly alter the way that the country is run.

That right to vote is certainly on the minds of many Americans as Election Day looms just around the corner. On the ballot this year is not only the decision over who will run the country for the next four years, but a number of important state issues that have been placed on individual state ballots. The signing of a petition to put a proposed law on the state ballot has tarnished the reputation of a diversity worker, a decision she fears could cost her job.

The law is over same-sex marriage. The worker is a deaf, African-American woman who serves as Gallaudet University’s chief diversity officer. She did not voice her opinion over whether the law should be enacted or not, she simply signed a petition that said the matter should be put up to vote — a decision to be left in the hands of the citizens.

A faculty member recently learned of the petition and the fact that her name was on it. The woman did not deny signing the vote petition, and the co-worker brought it to the attention of university officials. After learning that she had signed the petition, her employers placed her on paid administrative leave and questioned her ability to act as a diversity officer. Now, not only has her reputation been tarnished, but she fears that her belief in the right to vote could cost her job.

The diversity officer has remained silent since being placed on leave, but as her fears have grown, she chose to speak up. We will share her response in our next post.

Source: CNN, “Diversity chief: my reputation is tarnished,” Moni Basu, Oct. 17, 2012

If you fear the loss of your job over a belief system, our law firm represents employees in Missouri and Kansas who are facing an adverse employment action based on their religion, race or other protected class.