Arapahoe Worker Hits Trouble with ‘English’ Sign
Brian Maass, Rocky Mountain News (Denver), March 3, 2006
Mike Gray drives a truck to his job at Arapahoe County’s Road and Bridge Department with a sign that reads, “Lawn Services Done With Pride!! By An English Speaking American.”
And he sometimes wears a cap that says “U.S. Border Patrol.”
It’s enough to get Gray, 50, in hot water with his bosses.
Arapahoe County has ordered him to stop wearing the cap and to cover up the sign when he’s at work — or else lose his job of 16 years.
“Some of your conduct … is reprehensible and discriminatory to our non-English speaking and/or Hispanic work force,” his supervisor, Monty Sedlak, wrote in a Nov. 10, 2005, disciplinary letter.
“I got a new supervisor. He’s a politically correct, bleeding-heart liberal,” Gray said. “I believe in what I’m doing. I got to stand up for what I believe in and I don’t think I’m doing a thing wrong.
“Of course I don’t want to lose my job, but I can’t back down from something I believe in. Like I say, they’re just chipping away at our rights and freedoms.”
Gray has hired attorney David Lane, who plans to file an injunction to allow Gray to resume wearing his hat on the job and fully display his sign.
“What is of concern to me is whether the government of Arapahoe County is violating his constitutional rights under the First Amendment,” Lane said.
“When the government tries to put a gag in people’s mouths because they don’t like the message that’s being delivered, I’d do everything in my power to stop that from happening.”
(Posted on March 3, 2006)