Erie mother says she was fired for protesting oil and gas development near her home

Posted at 11:07 PM, Apr 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-04 01:17:15-04

ERIE, Colo. -- Paula Oransky is a mother of two and was also her family's primary breadwinner until last October.

"It's tough. It's definitely tough," she said. "I stood up for my community. I stood up for my family. I stood up for the health of my family. And I don't think that's wrong. I think I have a right to do that."

The Erie mother said Martin Marietta Materials, a multi-million-dollar corporation, fired her for protesting against new oil and gas wells near her home. An action she took on her own time, and let her company know about the next day.

"Fired me because I participated in a protest against Anadarko on September 27," said Oransky. "They told me that specifically. Sat me down in an office and said we're terminating you because of this. They specifically said it. They haven't denied it."

A Colorado School of Mines graduate and engineer, Oransky was the company's district sales manager and was bringing in six figures a year. She explained her former company sold construction materials like gravel to Anadarko and other oil and gas operators.

"They just terminated me because they thought it hurt their chances of having business with Anadarko," said Oransky.

Anadarko held the meeting in September about proposed new drilling two miles from her house, and after seeing what other neighbors had experienced with fracking in their backyard. Oransky said she decided to take a stand for her kid's health.

"I'm not an activist. I'm a concerned citizen and a concerned mother," she said.

Oransky has filed a lawsuit against her former employer. She said she is not trying to get her job back but is asking a jury to decide how she should be compensated for what the suit calls "extreme, outrageous behavior."

"It makes you have to pick between do I want a job and to put food on my table or do I want a voice in an active democracy," said Oransky.