A federal judge ruled to allow a plaintiff to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit in Idaho this month, according to sources. Pamela Lowe served as the Idaho Transportation Director until she was terminated in 2009. The state argued that Lowe, as an at-will employee, could be fired at any time. U.S. District Judge Ronald Bush ruled that the state must provide a reason for the termination, quoting the state’s case as being “less than airtight.”
According to Idaho law, the state can fire the Transportation Director for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, malfeasance and nonfeasance in office.” According to Lowe, she always received outstanding performance reviews and was terminated to appease Governor C.L. Otter’s campaign donors. Lowe and her attorney will still have to convince a jury she was wrongfully terminated, but this ruling is a big step.
According to record’s of Lowe’s lawsuit, she was fired by the department after refusing orders from Governor Otter to not interfere with a contract worth $50 million. The contract would benefit URS Corp and CH2M Hill, two companies that contributed to Governor Otter’s campaign.
This sounds like Lowe was fired for doing her job, one she had done quite well for years. All employees should be safe from this type of blatant retaliation.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—California employment attorneys