Michael Dale said in a lawsuit filed in federal court in the city that he was fired in part for vocally supporting Trump and wearing a “Make America Great Again,” or “MAGA,” hat.
Dale claims he was fired unlawfully because of his support, saying it was free speech, and because of his race and age.
The complaint identifies Dale as a Caucasian born in 1958 who was fired in April, reported the Indianapolis Star.
— IndyStar (@indystar) October 25, 2018
“Defendants have treated significantly younger, non-Caucasian employees and employees who did not engage in protected speech … more favorably in discipline than it has treated Dale,” the lawsuit alleges.
Dale said he wore his “MAGA” hat to work in 2016 and discussed his support for Trump with several colleagues; sometime later, a representative of a local union spoke to a crowd during a staff meeting about Dale being a Trump supporter, according to the lawsuit.
Dale said in November 2017 he and several other older superintendents were asked how long they planned on working, and in April of this year, he was terminated for an alleged “lack of leadership.”
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) August 30, 2018
The red “Make America Great Again” hats have been a point of contention ever since being introduced by Trump as a signature piece of campaign gear.
Earlier in October, a television reporter in Minnesota was fired after he was photographed wearing a “MAGA” hat while covering a Trump rally in Rochester.
In September, Kanye West said he was “bullied” by people on Saturday Night Live as the people tried to stop him from wearing the hat onstage. West later wore the hat while meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office.
And in August, a Texas man was charged with theft after being caught on video stealing a teen’s “MAGA” hat and throwing a drink in his face while cursing repeatedly.
The hats are worn by a number of supporters who attend Trump rallies and are sold by vendors outside the rallies. They’re also available online.