A police officer claims he was wrongfully terminated after giving a speeding ticket to a popular football coach in South Carolina, according to ESPN. Pickens Police Officer Michael McClatchy cited Clemson University football coach Dabo Swinney for a speeding violation on September 3, 20 miles away from the university. McClatchy issued Swinney a citation for speeding at 63 mph in a 35 mph zone.
College football fans began posting on the internet that McClatchy is a fan of South Carolina University—an in-state rival of Clemson’s—and that influenced his decision in issuing the citation. McClatchy, upon reading the comments, chose to reply and stated his version of events on an online message board. McClatchy replied using a police department computer.
The City of Perkins terminated McClatchy, its reasoning was that he used a company computer for personal use while on duty. McClatchy thinks he was terminated for issuing a ticket to the high-profile coach.
Swinney argued with McClatchy at the time of the citation, at one point even exiting his vehicle and asking McClatchy if he was aware of who Swinney is. Swinney was pulled over in a grocery store parking lot on his way to join a radio show. The Pickens city mayor called into the radio show, and according to McClatchy, the grocery store manager attempted to put him on the phone with the mayor.
“I was wrongfully terminated for doing my job. The computer issue is a red herring,” McClatchy said.
It seems as if McClatchy has a valid argument for a wrongful termination lawsuit. Firing an employee for a one-time innocent use of his computer seems a tad extreme, especially after such a high profile incident. If you feel you have been wrongfully terminated, please contact our firm for a free consultation.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys