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Ohio woman claims she was fired for Obama vote

DAYTON, Ohio — A southwest Ohio woman who says she was fired because she voted for President Obama has filed a lawsuit against her former employer.

Patricia Kunkle’s lawsuit accuses Dayton-based defense contractor Q-Mark Inc. and its president of telling employees that if Obama was reelected, then his supporters would be the first to be fired.

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Brian Wildermuth, an attorney for the company president, said in a statement that Kunkle was laid off for economic reasons — ‘‘nothing more.’’

‘‘The allegation that Q-Mark discharged Ms. Kunkle because of her vote is simply false,’’ he said.

The lawsuit, filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on Feb. 14, seeks a minimum of $25,000. It says that Kunkle’s vote came up in conversation on Nov. 7, the day after the election, and that she was fired Nov. 9. The suit claims that the company’s president and owner, Roberta Gentile, said the firing was in the ‘‘best interest of the company.’’

The lawsuit said that Gentile engaged Q-Mark employees in conversations aimed at discovering their political affiliations and repeatedly disparaged Obama supporters.

Kunkle started as a temporary worker with the small company in April and became a full-time worker in May, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit said that she performed her duties ‘‘efficiently and effectively,’’ and never received any disciplinary action or negative performance evaluations.

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