An attorney in Alaska says she was fired after being fired for speaking out against an alleged mistreatment of her client, a man who sued the company that owns the park and had been fired from his job in 2008.
The man, who has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, said he was fired for telling a supervisor he was concerned about his son’s welfare.
Sarah McLeod, an attorney representing the man, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.
She said the woman had filed a lawsuit in 2008 against a company that manages the Anchorage Zoo and Aquarium, alleging the company retaliated against her because she was a whistleblower against abuse at the zoo.
“She was a good and loyal employee and the company should have taken her employment seriously,” McLeod said.
She added that the lawsuit was a first attempt to get the company to comply with the federal law that protects employees who report serious abuse.
“It’s a first step in the right direction, but it’s a long way from solving the problem,” McLean said.
The lawsuit said that the zoo was told in late 2008 that the man had been “misbehaving with the zoo” for more than a year.
McLeod’s client, who is in his 40s, was hired in January 2008, according to a lawsuit filed by the company, the Anchorage Public Library and the Anchorage Humane Society.
In the lawsuit, McLeod alleged that he and his wife were threatened with termination for not returning to work after a month.
The couple filed a complaint with the Anchorage Police Department, which investigated and fired McLeod in July.
A lawsuit by the man and other employees was dismissed in January.
The Anchorage Zoo is owned by the Anchorage Museum and Botanical Garden.
The company has more than 5,300 employees and about 6,300 park visitors each year.
The zoo was the subject of a federal investigation into possible mismanagement of animals in 2008, after a whistleblower filed a letter of complaint.
In addition to McLeod and the man who filed the complaint, the lawsuit said another man filed a similar lawsuit in 2013.
The attorney representing McLeod has not responded to a request for comment.