In her case, filed Wednesday, Briskman accuses the government contractor of breaking a Virginia employment law that bars contractors from firing an employee out of fear of unlawful government retaliation. Briskman is alleging that Akima forced her to resign because the company "did not want to be associated with opposition to the President."
The 50-year-old is supporting her claims by noting the differences between how the company handled her case and how it handled that of another employee who posted the message, "You're a f**king Libtard asshole," on a Facebook thread about Black Lives Matter.
While Briskman was fired in November 2017 for violating Akima's social media policy by sharing the photo on her Facebook page, which did not indicate where she worked, her coworker was allowed to keep his job even though he'd identified himself as an Akima employee. This, the suit states, establishes "that she was forced to resign because of concerns about upsetting the federal government."
"I filed this lawsuit against my former employer today because I believe that Americans should not be forced to choose between their principles and their paychecks," Briskman said in a Wednesday press release. "Working for a company that does business with the federal government should provide you with greater opportunities, but it should never limit your ability to criticize that government in your private time."
"I never imagined that my ‘one-finger salute' to the Presidential motorcade and its occupant would cost me my job. The actions of my company were swift and unexpected. It is un-American to let the government use your own tax dollars to buy your off-duty obedience," she added.
Briskman's one-finger salute was captured by White House pool photographer Brendan Smialowski October 28, just moments after US President Donald Trump left his golf course in Sterling, Virginia.
— Red T Raccoon (@RedTRaccoon) November 6, 2017
Speaking to The Huffington Post, Briskman explained that the sudden urge to raise her middle finger came from being fed up with 45's behavior.
"He was just passing by and my blood just started to boil," Briskman told the publication. "I'm thinking, ‘DACA recipients are getting kicked out; he pulled ads for open enrollment in Obamacare; only one-third of Puerto Rico has power.' I'm thinking, ‘he's at the damn golf course again.'"
"I flipped off the motorcade a number of times," she added.
After the bigwigs at Akima fired her, supporters of the "she-ro" took it upon themselves to launch a GoFundMe page to ease her financial concerns. The page, which is still active, has collected nearly $135,000.