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Woman files suit for wrongful termination after being fired for posting photos at Capitol riots

February 2, 2021 | Wrongful Termination

In a lawsuit filed against her former employer, Leah Snyder, a one-time computer programmer and coder at Alight Solutions LLC, alleges that she was wrongfully terminated in association with the U.S.  Capitol riots on January 6, 2021.  The lawsuit, filed on January 26, alleges that the wrongful termination was based in part on photos she posted of herself at the U.S. Capitol on the same day of the now infamous riots.  In the lawsuit, she alleges that her former employer violated California civil rights law by terminating her employment.

Ms. Snyder claims that “[s]he listened to speeches being made and walked to the Capitol, and then she left. She did not participate in any rioting, she did not observe any rioting, and she did not hear of any injuries to persons or damages to property during her peaceful visit.” Additional allegations made by Ms. Snyder include claims that she was the victim of cyberbullying in the form of comments made in response to selfies she posted on the day she was at the Capitol and, although she did not participate in the riots, has suffered from cyberbullying and harassment on social media, partly by colleagues and coworkers.  In addition, she alleges that, after reporting the harassment to her employer, she was wrongfully terminated for participating in the events near the Capitol Building. Ms. Snyder claims she did not participate in any illegal activities during her visit to Washington D.C. on January 6 and that she was wrongfully terminated for political activity.

If Snyder’s allegations against Alight Solutions LLC are correct, then the former employer could be found in violation of California Labor Code §§ 1101-02. Those statutes provide,

“No employer shall make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy:

  • Forbidding or preventing employees from engaging or participating in politics or from becoming candidates for public office.
  •  Controlling or directing, or tending to control or direct the political activities or affiliations of employees.”

The complaint filed by Ms. Snyder contains three causes of action:

  • Violation of Tom Bane Act (California Civil Code § 52.1, which prohibits threats to interfere with someone’s constitutional rights);
  • Wrongful Termination of Employment in Violation of Public Policy; and
  • Breach of Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.

Ms. Snyder alleges that Alight terminated her for political affiliation and that her former employer’s action violated California Labor Code Section 1101 and Section 1102 (forbidding an employer from coercing or influencing its employees through threat of termination for failure to comply with a particular line of political action or political activity).  She is seeking economic and other damages of at least $10 million.