Sunday, July 31, 2011
Webber v. First Student, Inc.,____F. Supp. 2d_____(D. Or. Jul. 12, 2011), is an interesting case that attracted media attention. A federal district court magistrate in Oregon held that a bus driver who was employed by a private contractor that provides transportation services for a school district failed to state a valid retaliation claim under the federal constitution’s Equal Protection Clause based his discharge after refusing to remove to a Confederate flag from display on his personal vehicle while parked in the contractor’s lot.
The magistrate also recommended that the former employee’s claim based on the state constitution’s equal protection clause be dismissed with prejudice. Significantly, however, he held that the driver’s retaliation claim based on the state constitution’s free speech provision was valid and granted leave to amend. Interestingly, plaintiff did not plead a First Amendment claim under the First Amendment, probably because it may not pass the public concern standard. A media clip about this case is available below.