DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A lawyer for the ousted Iowa Department of Human Services director says he’ll file a legal claim alleging he was the victim of whistleblower retaliation.

Attorney Tom Duff confirmed Wednesday that he’s representing Jerry Foxhoven, who was asked to step down by Gov. Kim Reynolds last month.

Duff said that Foxhoven plans to announce Thursday that he’s filing a wrongful termination claim with the State Appeals Board, the first step toward pursuing a lawsuit against state government.

Duff says that Foxhoven objected to a request to continue to have his agency fund most of the salary of the governor’s deputy chief of staff, Paige Thorson. Duff says that Foxhoven believed the arrangement made sense when he approved it in 2018. But he said that, by June, Foxhoven believed Thorson was no longer furthering the agency’s interests.

Duff says that Foxhoven wanted a legal opinion before moving forward with the arrangement.

A spokesman for Reynolds has said that Foxhoven never raised any such concerns and that he was let go because she wanted to move in a new direction.