A Virginia cyclist whose image went viral after she was photographed giving the finger to Donald Trump’s motorcade and was subsequently fired from her job late last year is finally taking action, filing a lawsuit against her former employer.
Juli Briskman, the cyclist in question, said that she doesn’t think people should be afraid to speak their minds, even if they work for a government contracting firm, like Akima, for which she worked before the incident.
“I filed this lawsuit against my former employer today because I believe that Americans should not be forced to choose between their principles and their paychecks,” Briskman said, according to the Washington Post.
And according to the report and Briskman’s legal team, she has a good case, given that Akima’s decision to fire her was not necessarily about having a moral stand against her action but, rather, was about worry over how her actions would reflect upon the company. The company also cited concern about retaliation from the current administration.
“Akima’s actions—forcing Juli to resign out of fear of unlawful retaliation by the government—violated the basic tenets of Virginia employment law,” Maria Simon, one of Briskman’s attorneys, said.
“Defendant forced plaintiff to resign for the stated reasons that the photograph of her would have an adverse effect on its ability to obtain government contracts,” the lawsuit read.
Never mind that it was almost impossible to tell that the woman in the photo was Briskman and that her employers only found out after she told them in a gesture of good faith ... just in case things blew out of proportion.
And last November, Briskman also pointed out that she was in charge of the firm’s social media presence when she flagged another employee’s social media use.
In that case, a senior director at the company went on a nasty rant during a discussion about Black Lives Matter.
“You’re a fucking Libtard asshole,” the director inserted under the otherwise civil online conversation, using a profile that clearly identified him as an employee at Akima.
Of course, he wasn’t fired but just made to clean up the comment and scrub his profile before going along collecting his coins.
But I guess that kind of thing doesn’t matter to the company as long as you aren’t insulting someone who works for the government.
“Working for a company that does business with the federal government should provide you with greater opportunities, but it should never limit your ability to criticize that government in your private time,” Briskman said in a statement. “The actions of my company were swift and unexpected. It is un-American to let the government use your own tax dollars to buy your off-duty obedience.”
Nonetheless, Briskman isn’t interested in getting her job back. Instead, she just wants to collect her money and move on to the next one, especially as she has had several job offers since she was fired.
According to the Post, when Akima fired her, the company promised four weeks of severance pay but only gave her two. So she is just looking to collect her remaining two weeks of severance, as well as attorney’s fees and interest, which would equal about $2,692.30.