Trying to Fight the “Good Fight”

Silhouette of a child standing on the grass looking at the sky

Trying to Fight the “Good Fight”

I spent most of my career as a defense lawyer. I’m not ashamed of that work. I represented countless managers, supervisors, and businesses. But my heart has always been for the little guy—the quiet hero who could not be silent—the person who stood up to injustice and carried through no matter the odds. Those who know me understand that it was this “root for the underdog” quest that made me a lifelong Red Sox fan more than three decades before they won the World Series.  

Now, away from the world of “Big Law,” I find myself trying to fight that “good fight.”  I have either been able to seek out these underdog victims, or they have found me.  I represent plaintiffs in four of my current cases where they allege (and I believe we can prove) that their employers retaliated against them for engaging in legally protected activities or opposing discriminatory workplace practices. These “retaliation” cases can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive. Even so, I believe those who are poorly treated by the “boss” for taking a principled stand are the very ones who need an advocate in their corner. 

I’m not saying we will win all these cases.  I know all too well that our justice system is imperfect. Every so often, the “good guy” does not win. But no matter the outcome, I am reminded that sometimes the “hopeless causes” are the only ones worth fighting.

However, there is hope that tireless advocacy can prevail.  

A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit gives some guidance. In Kinzer v. Whole Foods Market, 99 F.4th 105 (1st Cir. 2024), the court held that an employee who was fired for wearing a “Black Lives Matter” facemask was engaging in “protected activity.” This means that even though wearing a mask with a slogan violated the company’s policies, the employee’s action was legally protected.   

The court’s decision surprised me only because I thought it was obvious. I always believed that when someone held up a sign condemning injustice, they promoted justice. When someone opposed racism, they promoted equity. When someone fought for the right to express a horrible view, they simply advocated for the right of all people to express all views–even unpopular ones. 

I know there are a lot of people who may believe otherwise.  Many think that whatever the boss says “is the law.”  I respect those folks who genuinely think that should be the rule. But I disagree with them. And no matter how many may line up on the “other side” of the debate, they won’t stop me from trying to carry on that “good fight.” 

In the weeks and months to come I hope to be able to highlight the stories of some of the individuals I’ve been privileged to meet and represent who have decided not to go quietly into the night.  Their stories empower me, and I am eager to show their heroism with you.  

If you believe you have been treated unfairly at work, there is no reason to remain silent or tolerate the intolerable. Seek qualified legal counsel to advise you on your rights and obligations.