On January 2, 2024, the Center for Individual Rights filed a new complaint on behalf of Greg Krehbiel in the circuit court for Howard County, Maryland. The former vice president of operations at BrightKey, Inc., a Maryland-based corporation, was summarily fired for questioning the wisdom of controversial government policies concerning race in an off-hours podcast.
When BrightKey hired Krehbiel in 2019, he informed the company that he recorded a podcast in his spare time, in which he sampled craft beers and discussed political, occasionally controversial topics with his friend/co-host. When Krehbiel asked if the company would have any issue with his podcasting, BrightKey President Rita Hope Counts assured Krehbiel that what he chose to do on his own time was his own business.
On two episodes of Krehbiel’s podcast he questioned the wisdom government policies concerning political issues involving race, in particular, mandatory diversity hiring and hate crime legislation. When a handful of activist coworkers at BrightKey protested Krehbiel’s views and demanded that the company take action against him, BrightKey reneged on their earlier agreement and fired Krehbiel.
CIR filed suit under a Howard County, Maryland law that prohibits employers from terminating an employee on the basis of their political viewpoint. Additionally, CIR argues that BrightKey violated the terms of its own contract with Krehbiel.
Krehbiel’s earlier federal lawsuit was dismissed on appeal on November 17, 2023.
- Read the complaint