Employee’s anti-war bumper sticker sparks conflict in Kansas

Government employee told she could lose job if anti-war bumper sticker using vulgar language isn’t removed
|Canadian Employment Law Today

A Kansas state employee found herself at the centre of controversy when she advertised her views on armed conflict with an anti-war bumper sticker containing a strong swear word, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.

Ashley Holm, an intern for the Kansas Legislative Research Department in Topeka, put a bumper sticker on her car that uses the “f-word” followed by “war.” Holm parks her car in the Statehouse garage that is open to the public and sees a lot of traffic. The strong language on the sticker offended Republican House Majority Leader Ray Merrick and he was concerned about the number of people, including children, who would see the sticker every day. He asked Holm to remove the sticker. She initially agreed but changed her mind, leaving the sticker on the car.

Merrick then instructed Holm’s boss, the director of the research department, to remind her of a work agreement which prohibited staff members from participating in partisan political activity. Holm was told if the sticker was not removed, her job would be in jeopardy.

Holm refused to remove the sticker. Merrick said he was still upset over it and the fact it remains in full view to many people every day, but he hasn’t pursued her firing any further.

“People other than me will have to decide Holm’s employment future,” Merrick told AP.

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