Did alleged extra-marital affair at DA's office lead to wrongful termination?
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) —
"I was terminated because I was more vocal about indiscretions than the administrative party would have liked me to be," said attorney Jenny Proehl-Day.
As an assistant district attorney Proehl-Day, was no stranger to difficult cases in her four years at Tulsa county.
"I did intimate partnership rapes, general rapes, strangulation, domestic shootings," she said.
But it was the case of an alleged inter-office romance that ending up being too tough to tackle.
"Marital indiscretions is not a new thing to that office," she said.
And it is not a behavior which she condones, due to a myriad of reasons.
"That is unnecessary conduct, it brings drama, it brings conflict of interest, it calls into question your ethics, your moral compass," she said.
And so, in one instance, she spoke her mind to one of her co-workers allegedly involved in an affair.
"I said don’t sh** where you eat, this is a bad idea," she said.
It was a boldness that would come back to haunt her, because a few months later...
"One of their spouses received a letter about the affair, and it was an anonymous letter. And I was in my office working with the door closed and they come into my office an accuse me of writing this letter," she said.
She didn't write the letter, she says, and as proof...
"I even offered, you can look at my work computer, you can look at my home computers. I’ll submit all of them to an analysis because I didn’t not write this letter," she said.
Instead, she was summoned into Steve Kunzweiler's office on a Friday afternoon.
"He essentially said that he had to do what was right for his office, and our mission was to seek truth and do justice and I didn’t fit with that. And at that point in time I asked him, 'Do you believe that I wrote that letter?'And he said, 'I believe that I have to do what’s best for my office and you’re not it.' And I said, 'Well, if you believe that I wrote that letter you’re right I don’t fit in here because you don’t know me at all,'" she said.
She considered suing for wrongful termination but decided not to, worried about repercussions.
"Get blacklisted because people don’t sue other lawyers," she said.
Now she's running for DA herself, hoping to reform not only criminal justice, but the office itself.
"Absolutely, I’m going to have that policy and it will read that if you are engaging in an extra-marital affair in the confines of this office, you will be terminated," she said.
As for DA Steve Kunzweiler, he released this statement;
"The qualities I look for in an employee at the Tulsa County District Attorneys Office are honesty, trustworthiness, and a good work ethic. Ms. Proehl-Day’s characterization is not in line with what took place - and she did not live up to those standards. It has been a long standing policy at the Tulsa County District Attorneys Office to not publicly discuss employee / personnel matters, and I will not discuss the details as they relate to her."