Recently a Dutchess County Legislator had the original verdict in his lawsuit overturned by the United States 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. The original case went to court after this legislator alleged that he was illegally terminated from his previous job at a Hudson Valley bank.

Piotr Adamowicz

How It Started

Before becoming Dutchess County Legislator, William Truitt (R-Hyde Park) at one time was an employee of Riverside Bank. Riverside Bank is a subsidiary of Salisbury Bank and Trust. He had worked in the bank's mortgage department but in 2018, he decided to begin a campaign for New York State Assembly.

After making his political aspirations known, Truitt stated that the bank gave him an ultimatum, that he had to...

choose between running for office and continuing his employment with the Bank.


A Trial, A Verdict and An Appeal

The result of this ultimatum is rather obvious, Truitt resigned and left the bank. Truitt later sued the bank stating that they violated NY Labor Law, specifically that the bank, as his employer, was unlawful in their actions...

to discharge or discriminate against an employee for engaging in specified political activities outside of working hours, namely running for political office.

In the original trial, a district court ruled on behalf of the bank in that Truitt's lawsuit could not continue because he "voluntarily resigned." Truitt would then go on to appeal the court ruling; this appeal would land the case on the floor of the United States 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Upon hearing the case, the Court of Appeals overturned the district court's original verdict, in favor of Truitt. The Court stated...

We are not persuaded by the Bank’s argument that it gave Truitt a genuine choice and that he voluntarily resigned.


Appeal Court's Reasoning

In addition, the court also stated that the bank determined "...a job as an assembly member was incompatible with Truitt’s job as a mortgage lending officer." The Court would also vacate the verdict rendered by the original district court and the case will now be knocked down to a lower court for further deliberation.

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Truitt Response

Though this case does not seem to be entirely over yet, Mr. Truitt was very much in good spirits after the Appeal Court's decision came down. Truitt would call this verdict an "overdue notice" to employers and that employees will not tolerate blatant discrimination, like what he was subjugated to. Truitt would also go to say that...

We all deserve a fair shake at achieving our American Dream without intimidation from those who would prefer to see us fail...

After five years of litigation, a full conclusion has not yet been reached in the case. However, it's nice to see that in this situation, it looks like the legal system is doing the job it's supposed to.

A full rendering of the Appeal Court Judge's decision can be seen here.

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