According to a lawsuit filed earlier this month, Courtney Canfield, a former staffer at the office of the Kansas Secretary of State, says she was illegally fired by Assistant Secretary Eric K. Rucker (below) because she didn’t attend church enough.
The problems began in February of 2013, when Canfield was invited to a church service by a staffer working for Rucker. That happened multiple times but she never went. Despite being a Methodist, she wasn’t particularly religious.
Other than that, the only “trouble” Canfield caused was when she used an office phone to call her physician for a personal matter. Hardly a big deal.
But that November, Rucker stopped by the house of Canfield’s grandmother Margie, who worked for the Kansas Republican Party. Even though Margie didn’t work directly with Canfield, Rucker said Margie needed to fire her granddaughter:
Mr. Rucker repeatedly and emphatically indicated a basis for her termination as the fact that, “She just doesn’t go to church.”
When Margie wouldn’t do it, Rucker did.
On November 18, 2013, Plaintiff was informed by Mr. Rucker that her employment was terminated and that she should contact Human Resources to assist her in filing for unemployment insurance benefits.
Canfield’s wrongful termination lawsuit, which you can read here, asks for $75,000 for “lost past and future wages and benefits, cost of living increases, mental and emotional distress and anguish, embarrassment, inconvenience and humiliation,” in addition to attorney’s fees and anything else a court may decide.
Given that this is Kansas, where Republicans control just about everything, the story in the lawsuit seems all too plausible. We’re talking about politicians who find the entire notion of church/state separation ridiculous. I’m only surprised that Rucker would dare to fire someone for religious reasons so openly.
But we’re only hearing one side of the story. Rucker hasn’t issued a formal response yet. We’ll be following the story and give updates as they come.
(Image via Facebook. Thanks to Pat for the link)