The United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided an unreported case under Michigan law that shows how they would come out on a case under Ohio or federal law. The Detroit Public Schools was under a deficit and hired a new Superintendent and Treasurer team. The Treasurer got the budget wrong despite being warned about the error she was about to make. The Treasurer, who had been telling the Board that the budget was balanced, told the Board about her error and let them know they were $400 Million in the hole. The Board reacted predictably and did not renew her six-month contract.
The Court found that the Treasurer made a protected communication to the Board and could not be fired on that account. Obviously, the panel could have come out another way. She got fired for blowing the budget, allowing for a legitimate non-retaliatory reason to fire her. As well, she got paid the last of her six-month contract and there was no compulsion for her to be renewed under law.