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$10 Million Lawsuit over January 6th Capitol Riot-Related Firing

On January 26, 2021, a computer programmer and coder named Leah Snyder filed a lawsuit against her former employer (Snyder v. Alight Solutions LLC (8:21-cv-00187)), alleging she was wrongfully terminated after she posted photos of herself at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In her complaint Snyder alleges that her former employer, an Illinois-based based human resources provider, violated California civil rights law by terminating her employment.

Snyder claims “[s]he listened to speeches being made and walked to the Capitol, and then she left. She did not participate in any rioting, she did not observe any rioting, and she did not hear of any injuries to persons or damages to property during her peaceful visit.” Snyder further alleges she was the victim of cyberbullying in the form of comments made in response to selfies she posted of herself at the Capitol and that, after reporting the harassment to her employer, she was terminated for participating in the events in Washington. Snyder claims she did not do anything illegal by joining those marching to the Capitol and that she was wrongfully terminated for political activity.

Seeking economic and other damages of at least $10 million, the complaint contains three causes of action:

  1. Violation of Tom Bane Act (California Civil Code § 52.1, which prohibits threats to interfere with someone’s constitutional rights);

  2. Wrongful Termination of Employment in Violation of Public Policy; and

  3. Breach of Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.

More particularly, Snyder alleges that she was terminated for her political affiliation and that her former employer’s action violated California Labor Code Section 1101 (forbidding an employer from controlling or directing political activities or affiliations) and Section 1102 (forbidding an employer from coercing or influencing its employees through threat of discharge or loss of employment for failure to comply with a particular line of political action or political activity).

© 2023 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 32

About this Author

Anthony J Oncidi, Employment Attorney, Proskauer Rose Law Firm

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office. Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection....

Law Clerk

Michelle Lappen is a law clerk in the Labor & Employment Department. She earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was an articles and submissions editor for the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts. During law school, Michelle was a teaching fellow for the Advanced Negotiation Workshop.