A cyclist who was fired from her job after a picture of her giving President Trump a middle-finger salute as his motorcade passed her in Virginia last year is suing her former employers for unfair dismissal.
Mother-of-two Juli Briskman, aged 50, revealed yesterday on Twitter that she had launched a lawsuit against government contractor Akima, with the filing available here.
— juli_briskman (@julibriskman) April 4, 2018
She said that in forcing her to resign from her post after the photo taken by a White House press photographer went viral, the company had acted in an “unlawful and un-American” manner.
Following the incident last November, Briskman used the photograph as her profile picture on her Twitter and Facebook pages.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) October 29, 2017
But Akima said that using the picture in such a way was a breach of its social media policy for employees, and that its business with government agencies could be affected.
At the time, Briskman, who had worked there for six months in in marketing and communications, told the Huffington Post: "They said 'We're separating from you'.
“You can't have 'lewd' or 'obscene' things on your social media – so they were calling flipping him off 'obscene'."
Virginia is classified as an ‘employment at will’ state – meaning employers can terminate someone’s employment at any time and on any grounds.
Briskman highlighted however that the company did not seem to be consistent in its approach to social media.
She highlighted the instance of one male co-worker who had referred to someone on Facebook as “a fucking Libtard asshole” but kept his job.
“How is that any less ‘obscene’ than me flipping off the president?” she asked. “How is that fair?”
Recalling the moment that made her an internet sensation, the registered Democrat voter said: "He was passing by and my blood just started to boil ... I'm thinking, he's at the damn golf course again.
“I flipped off the motorcade a number of times.
"I'm angry about where our country is right now,” she added.” I am appalled. This was an opportunity for me to say something."
A crowdfunding page set up by a well-wisher last November has so far raised more than $134,000 against an initial target of $100,000, with fresh donations being made over the past day following news of her lawsuit.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.