Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Janitor's asbestos griping is not protected speech

February 18, 2011
LINCOLNDALE, NY — A janitor fired for complaining about possible asbestos contamination at the school where he worked in Northern Westchester, New York, is not protected from retaliation, according to the Courthouse News Service.
The federal appeals panel upheld a District Court''s ruling against Norman Morey, who was canned by Somers Central School District for griping about fallen insulation, the article noted.
As head custodian at Somers Central High School, Morey was a government employee, according to the ruling, which made him responsible for cleaning up the insulation as part of his official job duties, and the court concluded that grumbling about the mess was not protected speech.
"The District Court correctly concluded that, on the evidence of record, any reasonable jury would be required to find that Morey''s speech was made pursuant to his official duties," Judge Paul G. Gardephe wrote for the court''s three-judge panel.
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