Court Rules Political-Firing Allegations Can Go to Trial

By Staff Report

Jul. 17, 2009

State workers in Connecticut who allege they were fired in 2003 for political reasons can take their case to trial, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

Four workers who allege that they and 2,800 other workers were fired because of their union status and their unions’ failure to support then-Gov. John Rowland brought the suit, Robert Conboy et al. v. State of Connecticut.

The state had argued that the terminations were due to a fiscal crisis and sought dismissal of the case on the basis of sovereign immunity, according to the ruling.

In a Wednesday, July 15, decision that upheld a lower court ruling, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled unanimously that dismissing the case now would be premature.

“Under the facts of this case, it is likely that a determination of the state’s motivation cannot be made until there is a full trial on the merits of the action,” the court said in the decision.

At best, documents presented by the state to support its position are insufficient to refute the plaintiffs’ charge that the workers were terminated “in retaliation for their engaging in constitutionally protected activities,” according to the court’s ruling.

Filed by Judy Greenwald of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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