Janitor fired after complaining to school board is denied recourse
Rickey Thomas was employed as a custodian at Pontiac High School. He claimed he was assaulted by a student after helping to prevent the student from re-entering the school after a teacher expelled the student. He complained to the principal that the student should be disciplined, however, she disagreed and took no action. In response, Thomas wrote a letter to her superiors and the school board, objecting to her refusal to act. He was fired the next day.
Thomas claimed that he should have rights similar to those of Union-protected employees and filed a wrongful termination lawsuit arguing that he was illegally fired for "blowing the whistle" on his supervisor's failure to discipline the assaulting student. In a typical Henry Saad opinion, the court held that the Master Agreement with the Union requiring the discipline of any student assaulting a "school employee" did not apply to Thomas, and therefore his letter did not report a "violation of law." Under the Court's constipated interpretation of the Whistleblower Protection Act, the school was within its rights in firing Thomas because he wasn't engaged in protected conduct. The Court also gave no significance to Thomas' argument that he had been instructed to follow Union procedures in raising his complaints.