Ex-Aide to Congressman Claims He Was Fired for Voicing Virus Concerns

A former aide to Representative Doug Lamborn, Republican of Colorado, filed a lawsuit on Thursday claiming that he was fired after complaining about his boss’s disregard for security measures meant to shield congressional employees members from the coronavirus, which he stated resulted in an outbreak in Mr. Lamborn’s workplace.

The former aide, Brandon Pope, stated within the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, that he had examined optimistic for the virus on Nov. 19, sooner or later after studying that Mr. Lamborn and two different employees members had contracted the virus.

Calling Mr. Lamborn the supply of his personal an infection, both direct or oblique, Mr. Pope, 35, stated his boss had misled his aides and the Office of the Attending Physician for Congress about his publicity. The lawsuit claims that Mr. Lamborn had slept in his Capitol Hill workplace and had shut contact with contaminated employees members.

In the 16-page lawsuit filed towards the workplace of Mr. Lamborn, Mr. Pope stated that the consultant had largely barred aides in his district workplace in Colorado Springs from working remotely final 12 months and made few lodging to guarantee social distancing or the carrying of masks.

When Mr. Pope advised Mr. Lamborn and his chief of employees about his considerations, the lawsuit stated, they dismissed them and finally terminated him from his job as a protection and enterprise adviser in December. From the beginning of the pandemic, Mr. Pope stated, the message from Mr. Lamborn and Mr. Lamborn’s spouse to the employees concerning the risks of the virus had been clear.

“Both claimed that COVID was a hoax and asserted that the pandemic was being used to alter the course of the congressional and presidential elections,” the lawsuit stated.

Cassandra Sebastian, a spokeswoman for Mr. Lamborn, 66, who was first elected to the House in 2006, denied the allegations in an e mail assertion on Thursday.

“The workplace safety allegations made by Mr. Pope are unsubstantiated and did not result in the termination of his employment,” Ms. Sebastian stated. “Congressman Lamborn looks forward to full vindication as all facts come to light.”

In addition to accusing Mr. Lamborn of flouting security protocols, Mr. Pope leveled quite a few different allegations of impropriety by his former boss. One specifically was that Mr. Lamborn had supplied his son, whose identify was not talked about, entry to a basement storage space within the U.S. Capitol as a spot to stay for a number of weeks when the son moved to Washington for work.

Mr. Lamborn’s spokeswoman declined to remark additional concerning the different allegations within the lawsuit, which stated that Mr. Lamborn’s aides had additionally been required to put together Mr. Lamborn’s son for his job search with mock interviews.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, stated Mr. Pope was employed to work as a Wounded Warrior Fellow in Mr. Lamborn’s district workplace in August 2019 after he retired from navy service as a captain within the Marines who had served in Afghanistan. Mr. Pope was then employed final May to a full-time place as a protection and enterprise adviser to Mr. Lamborn, in accordance to the lawsuit. He labored in Washington in June and July of final 12 months, the lawsuit stated.

Mr. Pope, who lives in Colorado Springs, stated within the lawsuit that Mr. Lamborn and his chief of employees, Dale Anderson, had largely thwarted requests to enable district workplace aides with underlying well being situations or relations who may turn out to be compromised by the virus to earn a living from home. The lawsuit stated that Mr. Lamborn and Mr. Anderson repeatedly mocked employees members who raised considerations over the virus.

“Representative Lamborn had a reckless and dangerous approach to COVID-19, and he retaliated against Mr. Pope for seeking to protect employees from unsafe conditions in the workplace,” the lawsuit stated.

Mr. Anderson didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Thursday evening.

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