Former state Capitol police officer says Facebook post led to firing

By Chris Dickerson | Oct 28, 2014

CHARLESTON – A former state Capitol police officer has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, alleging he was fired after making a post about a protest on Facebook.

Douglas A. Day filed his lawsuit Sept. 25 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety as well as the West Virginia Division of Protective Services.

In his complaint, Day says he worked during a public rally Jan. 30 at the state Capitol Complex related to January’s water crisis. On Feb. 3, he says he posted a comment on his personal Facebook account about the rally.

Three days later, on Feb. 6, Day was “willfully, maliciously and unlawfully terminated,” according to his complaint.

According to reports, Day’s Facebook post said, “If there was any time I despised wearing a police uniform, it was yesterday at the Capitol during the water rally. A girl I know who frequents the Capitol for environmental concerns looked at me and wanted me to participate with her in the event. I told her I have to remain unbiased while on duty at these events.

“She responded by saying, ‘You’re a person, aren’t you?’ That comment went straight through my heart!”

Day claims his firing constituted unlawful retaliatory discharge motivated by issues in violation of the substantial public policy of the state in that he “was retaliated against, discriminated against and/or terminated in part for making comments related to an issue of public concern.”

He seeks compensatory damages for lost wages and benefits as well as damages for indignity, embarrassment, humiliation, annoyance and inconvenience. He also seeks court costs and attorney fees.

Day is being represented by Mark A. Atkinson and John-Mark Atkinson of the Charleston law firm of Atkinson & Polak as well as Robert B. Warner of Warner Law Offices in Charleston.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-1756

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