Law | Politics

Cherokee Nation court backs workers who lost jobs after election

Chief Bill John Baker. Photo from Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court has ruled in favor of four out of five employees who were fired after the election of Chief Bill John Baker.

In the latest case, the court said Sammye Rusco was wrongfully terminated when her position as director of communications was eliminated in a reorganization. She had supported Chad Smith, Baker's rival in the election.

Three other employees -- Tamsye Dreadfulwater, Rachel McAlvain and Paula Ragsdale -- also won their cases, The Tahlequah Daily Press reported. The tribe will follow the court's rulings, Attorney General Todd Hembree said.

“Although we expected a different outcome, the Cherokee Nation will abide by the court’s order,” Hembree said in a press release quoted by the Daily Press. “The Cherokee Nation respects and adheres to the rule of law in all respects and believes in protecting the rights and liberties of all its employees and Cherokee citizens.”

A fifth employee who lost her job did not win her case because she was a contract employee, the Daily Press said. All five were represented in court by Smith, who is an attorney.

Get the Story:
Cherokee Nation AG says tribe will follow ruling in termination suit (The Tahlequah Daily Press 12/16)

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