Employee alleges Pennsylvania commission fired him for running for office

By Annie Hunt | Feb 19, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — A former employee is suing the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, alleging the commission violated his constitutional rights by terminating him for running for public office.

Daniel J. Savage of Philadelphia filed a lawsuit Dec. 8 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, alleging violation of the constitutional right to free speech and free association,

According to the complaint, Savage was employed by the commission from August 2003 through November 2006, when he resigned to serve as a Philadelphia city councilman. In October 2008, he again became an employee of commission’s Eastern Regional office as regional office coordinator.

Upon his announcement to seek the Democratic Party nomination for state senator in July 2013, the plaintiff says he requested a leave of absence of 45 days through March 10, 2014. Savage alleges he was never advised that being a candidate for public office would violate an employee mandate.

In response to his request for a leave of absence, the lawsuit states, Savage received a letter informing him he was prohibited from being a candidate and he was required to resign his position within 10 days or he would be terminated.

The plaintiff says he sent a letter to the commission, stating the unpublished policy was not properly implemented and the rule constituted an unconstitutional constraint on his freedom of speech. Savage alleges four days after he sent the letter, his employment was terminated, which he says was deliberate and malicious.

He alleges lost income on growth opportunities and damages for humiliation,

Savages seeks reinstatement to a permanent position as regional office coordinator for the Turnpike Commission, full wages and benefits, general compensatory and consequential damages, costs, disbursements, attorney fees and prejudgment interest. He is represented by attorneys Alan B. Epstein and Nancy Abrams of Spector Gadon & Rosen PC in Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number 2:15-cv-06501-MMB

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