Ex-Pulaski County Attorney employees say they were fired for political reasons

Six former employees of the Pulaski County Attorney's Office have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Lexington alleging that the newly elected county attorney fired them for not supporting his campaign.

Angela Bray, Sara Coffey, Traci Flynn, Kristi Hollen, Jennifer Trotter and Lisa Rutherford said their firings were unconstitutional and violated their federal rights. They asked to be reinstated to their positions and to receive compensation for humiliation, embarrassment, suffering and lost earnings, as well as punitive damages.

All the employees were fired by Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield in late December or early January, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday. Hatfield declined to comment on the lawsuit Thursday.

The plaintiffs did not support Hatfield during the May 2010 Republican primary but supported his opponent, former Pulaski County Attorney William Thompson, by displaying signs, attending campaign events and associating with others who supported Thompson, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit accused Hatfield of saying "he wanted people to work for him who would not 'sabotage' him and be a 'team player.'"