The woman who lost her job after she flipped the bird at President Donald Trump's motorcade has filed a lawsuit against her former employer.
Juli Briskman, who worked for government contractor Akima LLC, a marketing and communications firm, was fired three days after a photo of her shooting the bird at the president went viral online. She also shared the photo on her social media accounts.
“They said, ‘We’re separating from you.’ Basically, you cannot have ‘lewd’ or ‘obscene’ things in your social media. So they were calling flipping him off ‘obscene,’” Briskman said last fall.
Briskman said she explained to Akima that she wasn't on the job when the photo was snapped, and she didn't have the company listed on her social media accounts.
"While acknowledging that the First Amendment protected my right to extend my middle finger, my boss told me that 'corporate protection' dictated that he terminate me on the grounds of a social media policy that prohibits 'obscene' or 'inappropriate' content," Briskman wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.
She claims that a male colleague received a simple reprimand when he had posted an obscene comment on his Facebook account.
Briskman alleges that fear of Trump spurred her former employer to give her the boot.
She went on to add that a private employer doesn't have the right to suppress her freedom of expression on her own time out of fear for illegal government retaliation.
“I filed this lawsuit against my former employer today because I believe that Americans should not be forced to choose between their principles and their paychecks,” Briskman told The Washington Post.
She also wrote that her ability to make a living has been threatened by her desire to exercise free speech, and likened her situation to that of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who spearheaded the "take a knee" national anthem protest.
"The president’s relentless attacks on Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem created an environment in which many teams were reluctant to sign him and risk a backlash that could hurt their bottom line," Briskman wrote.