A former Spokane Valley Fire Department captain fired for sending religious emails through his work account can file a lawsuit claiming damages, the Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The department violated Jon Sprague’s First Amendment rights, according to the Supreme Court, when he was terminated in 2012 for repeatedly using work email to send messages to his Spokane Christian Firefighters Fellowship group.
Sprague reportedly was warned several times before facing disciplinary action. His firing was upheld by the department’s Civil Service Commission before Spokane County Superior Court dismissed the case, a decision that was upheld by the state Court of Appeals.
On Thursday, the state Supreme Court noted the Court of Appeals declined to address the merit of Sprague’s claims.