Join ‘Be the Match’ to Support Gary Gelfand in His Fight Against Leukemia

Prison Worker Sent Home for Trump T-Shirt

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

VACAVILLE -- A state prison librarian says he was sent home from his job at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville Tuesday because he wore a Donald Trump t-shirt to work.

"They just told me I gotta go. I didn't say anything. I don't want to create a conflict. I mean, I feel some sort of free speech violation was made but, that's not something to argue over," Leo Sanchez said.

The bright red t-shirt read "Trump is my President."

Sanchez said after he was sent home to change, he realized that he felt like he didn't do anything wrong.

"I'm a librarian. I believe in a free and open exchange of ideas. I believe in freedom of speech," Sanchez said.

Sanchez said that was why he was not bothered by hearing his co-workers talking about President elect Trump in a negative way. He claimed he had witnessed his co-workers wearing Hilary Clinton t-shirts to work in the past, so he felt like he was being singled out and censored.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation responded to FOX40 in writing. Press Secretary Vicky Waters said, "An employee's political views have no place in a prison setting. Decision to restrict such displays is reasonable, consistent with policy, and protection of institutional security."

The CDCR also referred FOX40 to the state's Human Resources website, which answers questions about political activities in the workplace. In regard to state employees wearing political t-shirts to work, the website reads:

"Yes. State employees may wear campaign buttons or political message t-shirts, provided that employees do not have direct contact with the public or clientele they manage or serve (for example, inmates in a prison setting or patients in a hospital setting)."

Sanchez said he thought he was disciplined for more than just the t-shirt. He said that on Monday, he put an article comparing Clinton and Trump in some of his co-workers mailboxes.

"I put it in some of the teachers mailboxes and obviously they got really pissed off about it," Sanchez said.

CDCR said they could not comment on the specifics that Sanchez mentioned because ultimately, it was a personnel issue that was under investigation.

At the end of the day, Sanchez changed into a different t-shirt and went back to work.

That spare t-shirt was a 1996 Summer Olympics promotional t-shirt featuring an American flag and Bugs Bunny holding a torch.

"Hopefully this doesn't offend anyone," Sanchez said.