The head of a nine-office law practice that touts itself as “Minnesota’s largest and nicest bankruptcy firm” allegedly went on a less-than-nice firing spree that originated in an attempt to target employees who posted pro-Trump content on social media.
The controversy over alleged wrongful termination is now in court, leaving the management of the firm up in the air.
Commenting on the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, Kain & Scott law firm president Wesley Scott allegedly sent an April email to his fellow barristers saying that the “traitors” involved in the D.C. incident should have been shot.
Scott also ordered the St. Cloud, Minn.-based law firm’s operations manager to fire two employees who he considered “racist” because their online activity suggested they were pro-Trump and pro-police, according to the Star Tribune.
The operations manager refused, resulting in her own termination, along with one other employee. Another worker was purportedly threatened with termination.
Scott then allegedly fired three law partners after they advised him that the previous terminations violated state law, according to media reports about the lawsuit filed by William Kain, Margaret Henehan, and Kelsey Quarberg in Stearns County, Minn., District Court.
Scott also called the cops to boot one of them out for “trespassing.” He subsequently disabled their phone and email access and changed the office door locks, news reports said.
He reportedly told the law firm staff that the partners were ousted for insubordination.
The Minnesota Human Rights Act does not protect against employment discrimination based on politics.
A separate state statute, §10A.36, however, reads as follows:
An individual or association must not engage in economic reprisals or threaten loss of employment or physical coercion against an individual or association because of that individual’s or association’s political contributions or political activity. This subdivision does not apply to compensation for employment or loss of employment if the political affiliation or viewpoint of the employee is a bona fide occupational qualification of the employment. An individual or association that violates this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
“Since firing the three partners, the suit alleges, Scott has tried to prevent them from collecting unemployment and health care benefits. What’s more, the firm’s ownership is in limbo. The three fired partners together own 50% of the firm, with Scott owning the other half,” the Star Tribune added.
A buyout agreement between the trio and Scott also fell through. “The three fired partners are seeking a number of remedies including back pay and benefits, as well as a judicial order to dissolve the firm and pay them for their shares under the buyout that they said had been negotiated.”
A civil lawsuit, of course, is a just one-sided rendition of facts as the plaintiffs and counsel interpret or perceive them, so Scott and/or the firm will have a chance to file a formal response in court setting forth their point of view. Each side will have to produce supporting evidence as the case moves forward. An out-of-court settlement somewhere down the line is also possible if the parties can come to some meeting of the minds.
Setting aside this matter entirely, recent history especially has demonstrated that the cancel culture is rampant in corporate America, which also includes the medical and legal professions. Individuals may find themselves abruptly losing their livelihood if they express any doubts over left-wing, identity politics in the workplace, let alone being outed as a fan of President Donald Trump.
Many free-speech advocates (and political expression is one form of free speech) have insisted that those who preach tolerance and diversity often reveal themselves intolerant of diversity of thought.
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