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Racing stewards allowed to pursue claim that they suffered retaliation because of political affiliation

In Dye et al. v. Office of the Racing Commission, et al., the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of four State employees to pursue a legal claim that they suffered retaliation for supporting the Republican candidate for Governor of Michigan in 2006.  Although one of the three judges dissented from the opinion, the Court concluded that the lower court had erred by dismissing the racing stewards' claim of protected speech and political-affiliation retaliation.

The judge who disagreed with the over-all decision pointed out that many of the complaining employees' allegations related to genuine administrative changes to the stewards' job duties, timekeeping procedures, number of days worked, travel reimbursements and overtime, all intended to more closely monitor the cost associated with employing the stewards.  The majority emphasized that the "right of political affiliation" is well-established in constitutional law.

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