A jury rejected the claim of a woman who said she was fired from the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office for not attending church often enough. Had this reverse religion discrimination case involved anyplace other than an office associated with Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, it’s unlikely it would receive any media play.
Kobach wasn’t named in the suit. Courtney Canfield held an entry-level job in the business division of the Secretary of State’s Office, and the suit named Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker. Since Kobach’s name could be tied, however loosely, to the case, the story had legs. National media picked up the tome, loosely linking Canfield’s claims of bias to Kobach.
As hard as media worked to connect the dots between Canfield’s firing and the Kansas Secretary of State, they missed a few elements of the story. According to press reports, Canfield learned she was let go through her grandmother, Margie Canfield. Margie is currently the sole paid employee of the Kansas Republican Party. It’s a job she’s held for years. However, there is a hole in her employment with the Kansas GOP. When Kobach chaired the party, Margie was let go. She was rehired when the party elected a new chair in 2010.
A jury exonerated the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office yesterday, determining that Canfield wasn’t fired because she didn’t attend church. Though Kobach wasn’t named in the suit, he released a statement saying he was pleased with the outcome of the case.
“Oftentimes frivolous claims like this are made in the hope that the defendant would settle and pay out money. That is not my view. We have to protect the taxpayers’ dollars and fight baseless lawsuits like this one,” Kobach said.