- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Seven former workers at an East Tennessee highway department have filed a federal lawsuit over their firings.

Media report the lawsuit says the Sullivan County Highway Department employees were wrongfully fired for testifying against their former boss during a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe.

Interim Highway Commissioner Bobbie Manning has said the firings were based on individual work histories.

The TBI investigated former commissioner, Terry Shaffer, who retired last year. The investigation was turned over to a grand jury, which found “an abuse of office” by Shaffer, who sometimes took five-hour lunch breaks, but no criminal violations.

The workers are asking for reinstatement, lost wages, benefits and attorney fees.

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