A federal appeals court has upheld the University of Toledo's decision to fire a high-level human-resources administrator who wrote a newspaper opinion column challenging the idea that gay people deserve the same civil-rights protections as members of racial minority groups.
In a ruling handed down on Monday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that the administrator's column "contradicted the very policies she was charged with creating, promoting, and enforcing," and cannot be excused as merely a statement of her own views as a private citizen. The panel affirmed a lower court's decision to dismiss the administrator's lawsuit accusing the public university of violating her constitutional rights by firing her.
At the center of the case was an opinion essay that Crystal Dixon, who had been the university's interim associate vice president for human resources, published in the Toledo Free Press in April 2008.
... In upholding the dismissal of Ms. Dixon's lawsuit, the federal appeals court said she differed from other employees cited in her equal-protection claim in that her speech, and not theirs, contradicted university policies. The appeals panel said her essay "spoke on policy issues related directly to her position at the university," and the government's interests as an employer outweighed her free-speech interests in the dispute.