- Associated Press - Saturday, June 3, 2017

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - A federal judge has upheld a jury’s $1.5 million award to a North Carolina fire investigator who said she was fired after complaining about the safety of construction work at an office building.

The Charlotte Observer reports (https://bit.ly/2sqfOj4 ) that Friday’s decision by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney is a further setback for the city of Charlotte.

A jury decided May 11 the Charlotte Fire Department fired Crystal Eschert in 2014 in retaliation for her concerns about the renovations.

Charlotte officials said Eschert was fired because of a Facebook post in the aftermath of the shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The city argued potential community unrest justified the firing.

But Whitney concluded that Eschert’s building complaints are protected by the First Amendment.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, https://www.charlotteobserver.com


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