ROANOKE, Va. – A former Roanoke Department of Social Services employee is suing the city for discrimination, after she claims she was fired for having a concealed carry permit.
When Storm Durham was fired on Friday, she was given a letter listing reasons for her termination, which included performance concerns, attendance, dress code issues and unprofessional behavior. But Durham said one item stuck out above the rest.
"The workplace safety concern, and I was, like, ‘What is that?’ And they said, ‘Well, you know, you having your concealed carry permit,’" Durham said.
Furious, Durham took to Twitter.
I was fired today. From Roanoke City Social Services, serving as a damn good social worker. I was fired for having a concealed carry permit. Not the gun, the permit. I was escorted by 3 city police officers bc I am a "safety risk to the building"— Storm Durham (@chelstorrm) March 10, 2018
"I’ve never been a safety hazard at all and (I said) ‘Y'all are treating me like I’m some monster that needs three escorts from Roanoke city police officers,’" Durham said.
Durham said the situation started when she had a conversation with her supervisor in February.
"They were, like, ‘Well, it's been brought to our attention that there's guns in the home.’ And I was, like, ‘Yeah, and? There's been guns in my home my whole life,’" Durham said.
She thinks it may have stemmed from pictures she posted of her hunting on social media.
During the conversation, she openly told her supervisor she had a concealed carry permit.
"I’ve never had it on me on my person on a visit, even on the property and they were, like, ‘Well, how do we know that?’ And I was, like, ‘Search me,’" Durham said.
Although she recognizes the workplace safety concern wasn't the only reason she was fired, she said that reason alone is discriminatory.
"It still should not be on that list. My constitutional right is my constitutional right, and that should not be a barrier in my employment," Durham said.
10 News reached out to the city for comment. A representative released the following statement: "A former employee of the City of Roanoke recently posted via social media assertions regarding the basis of her dismissal from City employment. Her posting has also been reported in other media. The City does not publicly comment on specific personnel matters. In light of these assertions, however, it is important to note that the City of Roanoke respects the Constitutional rights of its citizens and that the dismissal in question was not based upon anyone's exercise of such rights."