A former staffer at the Missouri House of Representatives has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was canned for complaining about the lack of a mask mandate at the state Capitol building. Tad Mayfield, who wants punitive damages and his job back, claims in the suit that he first expressed his concerns about working in the statehouse without a mask mandate in an email to Assistant House Clerk Emily White, on which former House Speaker Elijah Haahr and House Clerk Dana Miller were copied. “At the risk of sounding confrontational, which I in no way wish to convey, I think it is important to state unequivocally, by not requiring face coverings, the House has become a hostile work environment,” he wrote in July 2020. The next month, he emailed Haahr and Senate President Pro Tem David Schatz to request a mandatory face mask policy. Three days later, he was told “his employment was ending for alleged poor performance,” according to the lawsuit.
Mayfield says he got the boot for exercising “his rights guaranteed by the First Amendment by speaking out before all of the defendants upon matters of public concern.” His lawsuit lists Haahr, Miller, White, and House Human Resources Director Judy Kempker as defendants.