Thursday, January 17, 2019

Ex-WA Firefighter Settles in Free Speech Case

A former firefighter in Washington state who was locked in a lengthy legal battle over a string of religious emails has reached a nearly $1 million settlement with his old department before the case reached court next month.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department agreed to pay Jon Sprague $900,000, along with retirement benefits, after he claimed he was fired in October 2012 for emails he sent in connection with his work restarting a local chapter of the Christian Firefighter Fellowship, KXLY-TV reports. He gave his attention to the group beginning in 2010 as a way to address a national increase in suicides among firefighters.

For about a year, Sprague would arrange meet-ups and discuss suicide prevention with colleagues in the emails, but an issue was raised about the emails by his captain in late 2011.

"As (the captain) said, mentioning God or Jesus was a problem," Sprague told KXLY.

A court battle ensued for around six years, with Sprague arguing that he didn't lose his free speech protections to talk about religion just because he was a public employee. The case eventually made it to the Washington State Supreme Court in 2017, and the justices agreed with Sprague, KREM-TV reports.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am an Atheist, but everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs.