Government worker fired for finding loaded gun on the job

John Chevilott was only two years of shy of retirement when he lost the government position he held for 23 years earlier this month.
In the city of Detroit, doing the right thing might not always be the best idea — especially if you want to keep your job: just ask a former groundskeeper for the Wayne County Department of Public Services.

John Chevilott was only two years of shy of retirement when he lost the government position he held for 23 years earlier this month. After he spotted a loaded handgun while mowing the lawn of a neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, Chevilott carefully picked up the firearm and put it aside to hand over to law enforcement. When he visited a local police station that afternoon, he was applauded for his action.

“They said I did the right thing getting it off the street,” Mr. Chevilott tells Fox News Detroit.

"It was damaged, so it could've went off. Surprisingly, it didn't kill the guy on the mower,” he adds.

The higher-ups at the Wayne County Department of Public Services weren’t as understanding.

After more than two decades on the job, Chevilott was fired for turning in the weapon. His bosses said that handling the weapon, no matter his intentions, violated company policy. They also said the groundskeeper was being insubordinate and accessed the road yard without proper authorization.

Chevilott says, though, that in his 23 years with the department, his superiors never supplied him with rules about handling guns.

“There's never been any policy brought to light on what we should do when they find a weapon," he tells the network.

“I didn't do anything wrong.”

Such a big deal was this, said the department, that Chevilott’s own supervisor was also suspended for a month. A spokeswoman tells Fox News that the company policy carefully outlines that employees can’t possess weapons on work property. Nowhere, unfortunately, does that provision specify that it applies to loaded firearms found on the ground.

"There is no policy. I've never seen a policy what to do if we find a gun out here. So, all I did was secure the situation to make sure nobody else got hurt or killed,” adds Chevilott.

After losing his job on May 3, Chevilott has brought his case to his workers union. A representative for them confirms that they have filed a grievance against the Wayne County office.