A Black employee claims he was fired from a Florida company after he spoke out about a letter sent by his boss threatening that workers would face layoffs if presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the election.
Stan Smith said he was fired from Daniels Manufacturing Corporation in Orlando after he spoke to a local news outlet about the letter attached to workers’ paystubs on Aug. 12 that spoke of permanent layoffs that would occur if President Donald Trump does not win the election. DMC has denied that Smith was terminated.
“If Trump and the Republicans win the election, DMC will hopefully be able to continue operating, more or less as it has been operating lately,” the letter read. “However, if Biden and the Democrats win, DMC could be forced to begin permanent layoffs in late 2020 and/or early 2021,” the letter said.
“Everybody has a choice to make their own decision,” Smith told WESH 2 News on Oct. 16, before he was allegedly fired. At the time, he planned to quit working at DMC because of the letter, which was from DMC company president George Daniels.
Some employees were afraid to speak out about the letter, fearing they would lose their jobs. The company employs 170 people, and specializes in producing electronics tools for aerospace, aircraft, and military industries. Smith said the letter is unfair.
“I don’t feel like it was correct, to do something like that,” Smith told WESH. “That’s like me coming to work — because we had all these black killings — and I should come in here and I should wear a Black Lives Matter shirt and bring out hats and pass them out to everyone. I felt like it was unfair.”
Smith, who believes he was fired because he spoke out about the letter, has sought legal counsel in preparation for a lawsuit.
“We believe that the evidence here is very clear… that (DMC’s) intent was to influence its employees to vote for one candidate over another to preserve their jobs,” said employment law attorney Richard Celler. “We are confident that this employer not only violated federal and state law, but also illegally terminated our client.”
Daniels issued a statement regarding the letter, before Smith claimed he was fired, saying: “I have been doing this for years. I have an obligation to let workers know what could happen, based on the outcome of an election. They certainly should vote for the candidate they want.”
Later, the company said it did not fire Smith, writing: “DMC did not terminate Mr. Smith.” The statement claimed that Smith initially resigned, then asked the company if the resignation could be rescinded.
The statement said the company declined to rescind the resignation at first, but later offered him an unconditional reinstatement offer, after WESH reported on the issue a second time on Oct. 22.
A large Trump flag is displayed outside of the DMC building. According to documents obtained by WESH, Daniels has contributed more than $600,000 to the Trump Campaign, political action committees and other Republican candidates this election cycle. He reportedly contributed $139,000 to the Trump Victory Fund.
It is not illegal for companies to discuss politics with employees, but it is illegal to threaten voters. Federal election law prohibits intimidation of voters, with penalties including fines and jail time.