Groundskeeper told not to wear ‘MAGA’ hat plans to sue Suffolk college
A Medford man now plans to sue Suffolk County Community College, who told him he couldn’t wear his “Make America Great Again” hat at his groundskeeping job.
News 12 Long Island reported last month that Salvatore Esposito was told that his MAGA hat was “political attire” and couldn’t be worn while at work on the Selden campus.
Esposito, an Iraq War veteran, filed a notice of claim this week announcing his intent to sue for $500,000. He says he feels targeted and that the college violated his First Amendment rights.
Two days after Esposito was told he couldn’t wear the hat because of its political message, administrators sent a second email saying the real issue is that any hat violates the uniform policy. Esposito says he’s not buying that argument.
“I wore my Army hat…Jets hats, Islanders hats, and nothing was said to me until this day,” he told News 12.
Esposito's attorney Matthew Weinick says other staff at the college display political statements in the way of posters and flyers.
“That clearly shows that Mr. Esposito was singled out for his particular view-point. Political speech is protected under the First Amendment,” he says.
A spokesperson for Suffolk Community College had no comment because of the pending litigation.