Terrorist-attack fallout has extended to local government in Falls Church, Va. On Sept. 17, Ossama (Sam) Khamis, an employee at the Falls Church Commissioner of Revenue’s office, complained to the city manager and city attorney that his boss, Commissioner Harold Miller, had allegedly made comments disparaging Arabs. A week later, Khamis, a U.S. citizen of Egyptian origin, and Ronnie Jones, a black co-worker who’d informed Khamis of the alleged comments, received pink slips. The dismissed pair promptly hired an attorney and threatened legal action, and by Nov. 2, Miller and the city had agreed to rescind the firings and to submit to a mediation process. Philip Simon, attorney for Khamis and Jones, observes: “You can’t fire a public employee just because he speaks out to protest an ethnic slur by his boss. That’s the bedrock of antidiscrimination laws.” Miller—who was honored last year for 10 years of service in local government—will retire after the November elections. He had no comment on the firings and rehirings. —Zack Phillips

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