The jury will begin assessing damages Monday. The two Port of Seattle employees said they were fired because they did not extend leases of airport businesses that were donated to Commissioner John Creighton's campaign. The 11-year commissioner last week lost his bid for re-election.
A King County jury found Thursday that the Port of Seattle wrongfully terminated two employees, who alleged they were ousted for refusing to extend leases of airport businesses favored by a Port commissioner.
Deanna Zachrisson and Elaine Lincoln claimed that Commissioner John Creighton retaliated against them for opposing the lease concessions to some of his major campaign donors. “Employers must not fire employees for refusing to break the law or reporting misconduct,” Beth Bloom, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said in a statement. The jury will begin assessing damages on Monday, she added.
The Port has said Zachrisson and Lincoln were fired for violating its policy in sending and receiving offensive emails.
“I continue to stand by the Port staff’s decision that the defendants violated the Port’s policy of zero tolerance in disparaging Port tenants and colleagues over email,” Creighton said in an email Friday. He has denied wrongdoing.
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A spokesman for the Port said it recognizes the verdict but stands by its decision, maintaining that “the defendants clearly violated Port policy” in their emails.
Creighton, the longest-serving current Port commissioner, lost his his re-election bid this month despite a huge fundraising advantage.