Should anti-Semitic Occupy LA woman have been fired? (Reader poll)
An employee of the L.A. School District and active Occupy Los Angleles supporter was fired for her anti-Semitic comments which have garnered a lot of attention.
Here’s the video of her reaction to the firing, where she doubles down (h/t IsraellyCool):
The easy answer would be sure, fire her, she’s a despicable person.
But, her comments were not made at school. And while there’s no doubt that she is an anti-Semite, we’ve also seen hundreds of times here how the race card falsely is played against conservatives.
We’ve seen examples where the most innocuous use of words which sound like other words can lead to charges of racism, and of course, how criticism of Obama’s policies is deemed racist. Indeed, the entire Tea Party movement falsely has been condemned as racist.
If being racist (or anti-Semitic) completely outside one’s job is a ground for being fired, then how do we distinguish between charges of racism and false charges of racism. Who decides?
Donald Douglas, who has been the subject of attempts to get him fired from his job, writes:
The district’s decision reaches into the realm of personal space. And it should not. This is tyranny.
Admittedly this is a tough one, but I agree. So long as it’s completely outside the workplace and does not impact one’s ability to perform the job, what stays outside of work should stay outside of work.
What do you think? (Poll closes at 9 a.m. Eastern on Friday, October 21)
[Note: a lot of the commenters are arguing over whether she “could” be fired. The question is whether she “should” be fired, not whether the District had the legal right to do so.]
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If her position with the school district is not that of a public spokesperson, ie: where personal reputation and recognition is extremely relevant, they have violated her first amendment rights. And every dumb schmuck deserves their rights.
She has voluntarily chosen to make herself a spokesperson of the school district, without the district’s permission. Of course she can be fired.
But why so fast? My guess is that there is a history in this case that would be illuminating.
I’m happy to say she has no first ammendment rights here. As a substitute teacher w/o a contract she could at any time not be called back for work no reason given. That’s what happened here. She showed up for work and they told her to get lost. She wasn’t fired because she had no “job” in the first place.
I did use the word fired in the title of the video because that’s what everyone is calling it.
If she had tenure there is probably nothing they could do.
The courts have said that schools can punish students for things they say outside of school (i.e. bong-hits-4-jesus). So they are consistent with employees too.
Who cares about that whole 1st amendment thing. It is so over rated. People talk too much as it is. We could use a little more peace and quiet.
Hot Air reports and discusses an NPR host that was fired after serving as spokesperson for the Occupation Forces down in DC.
The problem here is that she is not an anti-semite in private. She is an anti-semite in public, at a public protest, and on tv/the internet/and other public forums.
I’m not sure what her job is, but if she is a teacher, she is a voice to the students, and a very influential one at that. As such, the firing is appropriate.
Maybe they fired her because she exposed the influence they wanted the children to be exposed to?
I suppose that if they had not fired her most people aware of her outburst would be saying, “no big deal” and just let things slide.
It is about time that the hypocrisy and bigotry at the political level be stopped because it is becoming very dangerous.
An elderly person who was born before the Second World War, in a comment about the recent news said, “huh, and they now they have the nerve to ask me how We could have been so blind not to see what was coming.”
Exactly, she was making her comments publicly, and proudly stating her affiliation. *And* at Occupy she was doing what she’d be doing at work: Standing up in front of people and talking.
It’s not just that she was an anti-Semite; she advocated violence. An individual like that should not teach.
Freedom of speech does not mean that speech can be made without repercussions. If I have a kid in this woman’s class, I would be up in arms over her comments. Good riddance, you stupid racist!
@shroutr: I think you have it exactly right. The woman is a teacher. Knowing that she feels/espouses such, we’re supposed to let her indoctrinate our children in this way?
The standard at one place that I worked was: if you identified yourself as an employee of (or in any way connected with) the organization, the organization could take any action they chose based upon how they perceived your statements reflected upon them, and they clearly preferred that statements be cleared through PR in advance; if you identified yourself only as a private citizen, with no mention of the organization, then you were on your own.
(Naturally, executives above a certain level were always considered to be connected with the organization and their contracts specifically required a high degree of circumspection when speaking publicly.)
Darn you, professor, for making us think again today. :’)
My first reaction was to agree with you – what is outside the workplace should stay outside the workplace. The more I thought about it, though, the more I don’t like that logic from the freedom standpoint. As conservatives, we can’t, on the one hand, argue for a free labor market (where employers have the right to dismiss an employee at any time without cause) and on the other hand make exemptions for things like freedom of speech.
In this case, the employer (regardless of whether public or private) evaluated the potential impact of having a racist employee, and decided it wasn’t in the best interest of the company. The fact that it was a teacher teaching students is irrelevant – if it had been a manufacturer firing a receptionist or salesperson, it’s the same thing – the employer’s prerogative. In that light, I’ve got to go with the firing being reasonable. Another commenter noted that freedom of speech does not mean freedom from repercussions – that sounds about right to me.
It is my understanding from the statement from the school system (LAUSD), that she was a substitute, and thus a temporary hire. Also, there is apparently a code of conduct which these teachers are held to, at least for temporary, non-tenured type jobs (i.e. non-union members protected from firing).
Since LAUSD determined that her comments on video were a breach of their code of conduct, and she was a temporary employee, I believe they chose to do the right thing.
Just my $.02. 🙂
Based on the validity of DINORightMarie’s statements I agree the district could fire her if they followed due process, but I’m suspicious the “due” part may have been expedited a bit in this case. Thus it might not stick. And that wastes public money.a
She is demonstrably not a bright person. She has no business being allowed in front of children. She should be ashamed for saying what she did. But after all that, she still has rights. If we allow nasty people’s rights to be infringed we have no standing to insist on our own.
We can be flip about this all we want, but those rights are there for a purpose and there are too many public employees – SEIU members – out there at present, refusing to uphold our rights, for us to wimp out on this issue when we simply don’t like the rascally person being targeted. The professor is spot on to ask the question. How we answered it determines how well we deserve freedom.
49er – her rights are not being infringed upon in any way – she had, and still has, the right to her free speech and her opinions. She is not in jail for what she said, and I suspect she will be there again tomorrow (or still is) sharing those same comments, protected from persecution by the government because of what she has said.
The Constitution, and the amendments to it including the Bill of Rights, does not cover the rights of individuals to act against other individuals based on what they say. This is an employer exercising their right to terminate an employee who does not represent the standards they require for continued employment. Unless she specifically had a contract that permitted this kind of behavior, they were well within their right to terminate her, for any reason and without cause, and still did not in any way infringe upon her “rights.”
She is free to say what she wants, without fear of imprisonment or persecution by the government. She is NOT free from the consequences of a private individual or organization exercising their right to terminate her because they disagree with her. The fact that the employer is the state is inconsequential here, because they are not threatening her with any criminal penalty, nor restricting her speech in any way. They are simply refusing to employ her, something any employer has the right to do under a capitalist system.
I generally agree with you except that a public employer still has to follow “due process” or pay the piper [plus $$$ to the former employee and counsel] once the fired employee exercises all of her civil service rights – whatever in this case they may be – should she somehow win. The school district may have properly done this. I don’t know otherwise. I’m merely skeptical due to my understanding of the timing involved. Others probably have better information than I. I’ve terminated a couple of dozen public employees in my time, and none of them were easy nor was the process quick.
My guess is that if she hadn’t mentioned her employer that nothing would have happen. Employers don’t like employees using their name for non-work related activities, especially when it has the potential to offend.
I agree with others who say that this is a tough issue that made me really think. In the end, the following line of logic convinced me that she can be fired:
I am a lawyer, and if I espouse views outside the workplace that lead clients to feel that they do not wish to have me on their cases, that is their right. And, if that happens, my law firm is free to fire me because they can’t staff me on cases if clients won’t hire me.
So, what is the difference from this woman? Only that her customers are captives who can’t readily vote with their feet. So, does that mean that children of the Jewish faith should be subjected to this teacher? I don’t think that is appropriate, and, therefore, she can be fired.
I am tempted to conclude that I’ve started down a slippery slope. What if the comment is less objectively offensive? But I resist that thinking because, in the end, that view rests upon the view that teachers somehow are different. And I (the spouse of a teacher) don’t really believe that. Our employers can hold us accountable for actions that affect their ability to accomplish their mission. And that’s that, I think.
Oh, and I’m ignoring all state actor elements of this analysis. I’m just not good enough at ConLaw to wade into that.
My logic is simpler: don’t feed the wolf who will feed on you. Anti-semitism isn’t a solitary vice. It usually pairs itself with racism, various DNA-based phobias, or other issues. Because of this, weighing her right of free speech against the rights to the pursuit of happiness by hundreds, if not thousands of impressionable of children that could could come into contact with her, she loses.
She has not been harmed by the firing because she may now claim martyr status. Why else identify as an employee of the LAUSD? She’s a temp, and expendable. And, the Occupy movement requires a percentage of the fodder be expended in hopes of igniting an American Fall.
The problem is they don’t keep their personal views out of the classroom. LAUSD students are taken on field trips to locations that espouse and hand out anti-American literature. I have seen this first hand.
I’m actually surprised they fired her. This gentleman is still employed by LAUSD.
I can’t say how I know but his views are no secret on campus and anyone thinking this isn’t conveyed in the classroom is kidding themselves.
Should someone so stupid that they’d make bigoted statements on video AFTER they’ve identified themselves as a teacher even be allowed in a classroom?
Is this what we want our children exposed to? Would it be acceptable if someone had called for all African Americans to be shipped back to Africa? Imagine the uproar if some white guy had said that after admitting he was a teacher.
Just to clarify my view:
I believe they should have fired her; by the LAUSD’s assessment, she broke their code of conduct which merited her termination as an employee.
She should have been fired.
Also – the LAUSD needs to objectively evaluate ANY and ALL who breach the code of conduct, but I won’t hold my breath on that one.
So, let me get this straight, as long as there are signs being “up with people” it is ok to be anti-Semitic?
I wonder if she’s ever had a Jewish student.
Yeah, the other woman was a joke, too.
Gee, tough call. Does she teach even one Jewish kid? Then wouldn’t her statement (which we all know will get back to the school and students soonest) creating a hostile environment for that child?
See – playing the touchy-feely “liberal” game isn’t so hard….
No, she shouldn’t be fired. Firing her moves the focus away from what she said. Her defenders (other anti-Semites) can now sidestep the anti-Semitism issue and focus on the 1st Amendment.
I’d much prefer irate parents standing outside her classroom door makeing her justify herself. I’d much prefer to hear the school board, in a packed meeting, defend her and suggest that she can teach Jewish children just as effectively as non-Jewish children.
Firing her lets everyone off the hook too easily.
And I agree with Valerie that there is something else going on. They’re probably looking for a way to get rid of her.
As a substitute teacher (unless she is a full-time sub) she is an at-will employee. Since they were able to fire her as fast as they were, it is clear she is not a member of the teachers’ union, therefore does not have union rights or protections. Under these circumstances only, the district has the right to fire her.
Were she a full-time member of the district, teacher, staff, etc. then I would look at it differently. Oddly, I remember her being interviewed by her little (poster-sized) sign and it was pushing for the teachers’ union. The least they could do is come out and try to protect her.
The irony is that she is one of the few people of color at the event and she turns out to be a ding-bat when she is interviewed.
At first I thought, yes the school district should be able to fire her. Then I wondered if I would want Prof. Jacobson fired for his political speech on this website. The answer is I would not. I see enough personal attacks, intimidation and harm done to people for their political speech from the left. I don’t think that it is just in a free society. It is a tactic of the left. I don’t think the means justifies the ends. Just as she has the right to spew ignorance, others also have the right to point out her ignorance.
My guess is that Prof. Jacobson would do an admirable job defending himself against most any attack related to what he has written. It is also my guess that he would do all like-minded people proud and would probably even convert a few who aren’t so like-minded (or at least earn their grudging respect).
And if he wanted to he could do it without mentioning the 1st Amendment.
By firing this woman we’ve been deprived of the joy of listening to her and her fellow travelers defend her staments on their own merits. They can now wrap themselves in the Constitution and smugly consider her a hero.
This has troubled me completely about the firing of any individual for speech on their own time on their own dollar. This gives the precedent for trying to set up a system of trying to decide what is acceptable speech and what is not. The next question is who decides what is acceptable? And what happens if the people who decide don’t like what you have to say? This is why I have not attempted to join any of the campaigns to get people fired, unless it has a negative impact on the job they are performing. Yes, the woman deserves to be mocked for what she said, but why fired? The guy who was fired from Geico insurance I agreed should have been fired because he used a company phone line to leave a message and then left his company phone number, implying that the company approved of his message. But the content of his message isn’t why he was fired, only that it violated Geico’s image. This woman has not been proven to be a “bad” teacher, but she did demonstrate poor judgement in public. I don’t agree she should have lost her job. If she spouted the nonsense in the classroom, then she should have been fired.
I voted No, but if she violated her employer’s code of conduct then I change it to yes.
OK, I am a retired “Commissioned Peace Officer of the State of Colorado”. I have been a writer for decades, and that is the exact technical formulation I used when it was necessary to identify my occupation because that identified me as an LEO without identifying which Department [state, county, city, etc.] I worked for. All LEO’s in the state fall under that rubric by state statute, with different classes according to who you work for and what you are allowed to enforce. That was necessary because of both the State Personnel Rules [yeah, I worked for the state] and the Federal Hatch Act would otherwise have required that I grant my employer prior restraint on anything I published or broadcast if I was identified as their employee; especially if politics were involved. And I was explicitly forbidden to be in a position where I could be perceived as claiming to be a spokesman for the Department. On a couple of occasions where I was interviewed on political matters, I taped it [with the knowledge of the reporter] so that I could prove I had not claimed to be speaking for the Department.
LAUSD is a government entity, and I assume under similar strictures. If she had just said that she was a teacher, and not identified the district, she would have been legally free and clear. Or if she had just said she was speaking for herself. I would add, that I am sure that LAUSD has all sorts of touchy feely mission statements about zero tolerance for bigotry [in the PC sense that excludes Anglos] and she put them in a difficult place if it would have come to a court battle.
As a parent I would not want her teaching my children, but I am not sure if she should be fired. I would use it more as a reason for school choice. Let the parents decide who teaches their children. Then again, she did say it publicly on video. She deserves some kind of fair trial and a chance to repent. Maybe it is justified though, teachers should be held to high standards. But who decides the standards, it should ultimately be the parents.
Although the timing certainly suggests this, do we know that this woman was fired for her statements?
I ask because I’ve a good friend who is a Principal in OC that admitted that he used an egregious, non-criminal, and outside of school action by one of his teachers, for termination. He had been trying to fire this teacher for two years prior but the union demanded more proof of ineptitude.
All too many people think First Amendment freedoms trump everything, which is patent nonsense. You are free to say abhorrent things but that does not give you a free pass to escape consequences. It would be easy to see this if this woman worked for a private employer — say, a local store owned by a Jew who was personally affronted. It should go without saying that the store proprietor is and must be free to fire an employee for any reason that was not illegal (such as race discrimination), certainly this reason.
The aspect of this that tends to muddy the water for some people is that she worked for a governmental entity, not a private employer. (If she were in a job category protected by civil service tenure, it would be a lot harder to fire her but she still could be fired and should be. As it happens, she has no such protection and can be given the immediate heave ho.) But so what? Is it possible to imagine that anyone who said publicly words to the effecf that “all Black people should be run out of the country” would or could or should keep a public job? Of course not.
Some things are just beyond the pale — and the Bill of Rights affords zero protection.
We seem to be missing the point here. I agree, I wouldn’t WANT the professor fired because of the things he says here on this blog, but in a free market society, I think we have to support the right of the employer to fire him for his comments if they want to.
In a true free (and conservative) society, there is no “right” to a job; we can all express ourselves under the first amendment”right” to free speech; we also know what the consequences could be if we do. Our rights to free expression, and an employer’s rights to employ at will, can and do coexist in a free society. That’s the ideal, anyway.
What is there to figure out? Remember the Holocaust, anybody? Auschwitz? The Holocaust Musuem in Washington D.C. with Ike’s quotation etched on the wall in stone?
We are a society of laws, are we? Is the speaker gravely disabled, a danger to herself or a danger to others?
Does her speech about “running out” people based on ethnicity or creed hurt someone’s feelings after advocating the deprivation of liberty, property and citezenship? Call for Mr. Holder, Attorney General Eric Holder. And thank you again, Dr. Phil, for identifying statements masquerading as questions
Sneaky question, Prof Jacobson, but if we are going to stand for freedom of speech, this also means we have to stand for it when people we can’t stand say things we cannot abide outside of their teaching position. Obviously, if she were teaching antisemitism in her classroom, that would be objectionable (just as it would be if she were teaching students to hate America . . . as so so many teachers do these days).
If as some are saying, we need to stand for freedom of speech and allow this woman to express her anti-semitic opinions, does that mean all speech is allowed and there will be no more accusations of hate speech regarding race, gender, sexual orientation? Are we really willing to fall on our swords for the hate speech rights of the Phelps family? I’m not even if that is the dreaded slippery slope.
Free speech carries responsibility with it. Most professionals are governed by a code of conduct which usually includes something vague along the lines of “conduct unbecoming.” I recall stories of IBM workers who were fired for cashing their paychecks at a bar.
I voted “Yes.”
She is now free to engage in as much speech as she wants, unencumbered by occupational consequences.
I think racism is despicable. But I believe people have the right to be despicable and believe what they wish to believe.
Had this woman said this at work, or about work in a public forum that would be a different thing.
My stepfather was a total racist but as long as he was in the Army he saw only one color and that was OD. His self control while in uniform was admirable. He had the right to his beliefs but he had the common sense to keep them to himself when necessary.
If what I say on my personal time, outside the office can get me fired then I will be fired eventually. This is one reason I blog anonymously. Conservatives are not tolerated in this part of the world.
As long as her comments were clearly expressions of her personal opinion and as long as she was not speaking for her school district, then she should not have been fired because of her anti-Semitic comments. Yet, personally, her views are very abhorrent and not acceptable to me or to many others.
This is another instance of freedom of speech being a fragile shield, easily pierced by expressions of outrage and non-acceptable to some.
I come down very slightly to the side of “yes” she ought to have been fired under the circumstances, though it would not be necessarily be appropriate in all circumstances. The reason is that, given the obvious antisemitism and the fact that there are many Jewish students in the school system, it would be reasonable for the school administration to conclude she could not effectively interact with Jewish students and parents, and, therefore, was not able to do her job to the standards the district expects.
Yes, absolutely she should be fired. If she had never mentioned that she was a teacher for the LAUSD, it would be a much tougher call for me. As it is, she did, and so should be fired.
[…] Jacobson at Legal Insurrection asks whether she should have been fired: The easy answer would be sure, fire her, she’s a […]
[…] UPDATE: Occupy LA organizers refuse to denounce rabid anti-Semitism, via Legal Insurrection: […]
They are across the street from my office. My buddy here at work just got a new iphone with hi-def video. He said he’d be willing to go with me and look for her on Monday. I don’t know if we’ll find her, but if we do, do you have a few questions you’d like me to ask her if she agrees to be videotaped?
LHC: I’ve wondered if she is spouting off that way because of something someone has taught her? Potential questions:
Does she care to quote or name any authorities supporting her comments?
Who is/was her favorite professor/teacher/pastor?
Where did she receive her degree?
What is/was her field of study?
When employed as a teacher how does she teach Jewish students?
Good luck with your project.
Good questions, 49erDweet. Like you, I want to ask her how she came to develop her beliefs, too.
I’ll see if we can find her. If not, I guess we’ll try to interview some of the other crazies.
A woman who was working past midnight the other night said when she went outside the building when her husband arrived to pick her up, a bunch of them were running across the street with their tents to set up camp in front of our building! They were run off.
Would you let her teach Jewish children? Or talk to children about Jews?
An employee of an organization also serves as an informal representative of that organization. Disciplinary action, including dismissal, does not seem inappropriate for behavior, including speech, that reflects badly on that organization. If she had not prefaced her comments with her employment status, then one might agree with your reasoning.
Would we be having this dialogue if a white employee made a public and blatantly racist comment as an informal representative of any organization? Not only would that employee have been immediately dismissed, Al and Jesse and countless others would be demanding their head on a spike.
This is a tough one especially considering that all the facts are not in evidence.
Basically I would say “no” based on first amendment rights.
Those that would say “yes” might want to consider if the were a policy that stated an employee could not deface the flag yet did so on their own time, the judgement could well be no due to First Amendment precedent of Supreme Court.
I’m surprised by many of the comments. It may well be unwise or even unfair or bad policy or just not nice to fire her, but the Firsf Amendment does not enter into it in any manner, shape or form.
The movie and TV industry’s 1950s blacklist of writers, directors and performers who had Communist associations may have been nasty, vindictive or even reprehensible, but it was not unconstitutional. Movie studios were perfectly within their rights to hire or fire or not hire anyone they wished for any reason, including their political associations and statements on politics — and they continue to be free to do so now.
In contrast, the Smith Act, which effectively made it a crime to belong to a Communist organization, was unconstitutional and was eventually struck down.
The First Amendment protects us from having our newspaper or our blog shut down or censored by the government, from having our party or other political organization from being banned by the government, and from having our peaceful, orderly demonstrations broken up by the police. But it does not protect us from any and all repercussions for saying unpopular or offensive things.
Extremely well said. It scares me a little that the First amendment keeps coming up here. It DOES NOT protect you from being fired. It protects you from governmental repercussions. Period. 1st amendment simply does not apply to this discussion n any way.
The woman is dumb for mentioning where she worked. Since she is so dumb and thoughtless, is she really qualifed to teach our childen? Free speech does have limits and one of those limits is not dragging a third party or facility into their publicly spoken prejudices. If the third party is dragged into this mess, they have the right to retaliate. They have the right to fight back and the school chose this path. So, yes. The school had the right to fire her.
OTOH, I would bet this is not the first incident where she ran her mouth inappropriately. As an above postr said, they were probably looking for a reason to get rid of her before she caused problems and maybe she already had.
What good is accomplished by being sympathetic to this anti-Semitic bigot? She is the one who should be run out of the country.
No one is trying to deprive her of her first amendment rights. She was able to say, and then again repeat exactly what she wanted.
Likewise, the school district also has the right to hire and fire at will employees as they wish.
Simply because this woman made her remarks outside of the workplace does not diminish her bigotry and anti-Semitism. Good and decent people should shun bigots and have the right to discriminate against them because they do not belong to the protected categories of race, religion or sex.
Certainly she has the right to free speech and any attempt to criminalize her speech would be dead wrong.
But does she have the right to be insulated from the consequences of anything she says?
Does an employer have the right to say: “If you really believe that and insist on expressing such views so publicly, we feel you are unfit to perform the duties to which you have been assigned. You are welcome to seek employment elsewhere.”
I think the answer is to the latter question is “yes” though the employer may have been hasty (depending on past history, of which I am unaware).
As to the question of Should, I believe: yes, she should be fired. Her attitudes are not acceptable and the fact that she went out of her way to trumpet them in public shows that she cannot be counted on to keep those attitudes out of her class and away from her students.
In this age of instant media, her students will easily (inevitably?) become aware that she hold these views and holds them proudly — how can that not negatively affect her teaching? In a sense, she was not “outside the workplace” because her actions intrude into her workplace. (Recall that is has long been the case that teachers can be fired for “moral turpitude”, because what teachers do in their off-hours, especially in full view of the public, has always been felt to reflect on their jobs.)
As for the question of determining whether a charge of racism (or the like) is justified, in this case that is easy. This is not a “he said, she said” or a hypothetical presented in class to as part of a lesson. This is not a blog comment or post where the author cannot always be positively ID’d.
Such charges should meet a very high standard of proof (which this incident does) and should have a clear bearing on one’s ability to do one’s job (which this incident does).
Concur on all points.
I seem to recall a recent OWS assertion (and sorry I can’t find the link at the moment…it is one of those things I should have clipped when I originally saw it) that the 1st Amendment not only guaranteed free speech but the right to be heard as well. IOW, not only does the Constitution protect your right to speak, but it apparently also provides you an audience. It is no stretch to assume that she feels the Constitution affords her the right to speak without any resulting negative consequence.
Ironic…when you consider that people the world over are quite willing to risk death in order to be heard. In this respect Obama is perhaps right. We are soft.
As other commenters have mentioned…this is not a 1st Amendment issue. My previous mention of it is only in reference to how I imagine this woman will be defended, which is why I’m against her firing. It prevents her bigoted views (and those of her supporters)from being exposed for what they really are and falsely wraps it in the Constitution.
This woman most definitely should be fired. Most teachers or employees of any company would be for her flat out anti-semitism.
I think if she examines her contract she’ll find that her ‘opinion’ is not acceptable behavior for someone who is supposed to be an educator and is a fireable offense.
Relatively late to the party, here, but I would like to point out that stories abound of teachers being fired for less–while still away from their place of employment.
One example I know is of a teacher who, while on vacation in Europe, had a photo taken of her with a glass of wine in her hand. That photo went up on her Facebook account in a photo album (not the profile picture that everyone sees all the time, but in the albums that you have to work to view).
She was fired shortly thereafter for something akin to “promoting alcohol usage among her impressionable students.”
On the issue at hand, I think it’s possible to respect this woman’s right to say distasteful (a milquetoast word, I know) things, but I think it’s also possible to respect her employer’s right to disassociate itself from those things by firing her. One thing my employer is keen to impress on us is that we are all always representatives of the company, even when it’s not apparent. That’s why I try to avoid being derogatory or inflammatory on my own Facebook page–I’m listed as being an employee of my workplace there, and I’d like to keep my job 🙂 As was stated above, the First Amendment, word for word, extends to Government. Employers, even public schools, are not the Government.
Were this woman in any other position–full-time teacher, maybe, or some other blue- or white-collar profession–I could support disciplining her in some way–mandatory leave, suspension without pay, drafting an apology, anger management, etc. Being that, as was pointed out above, she’s a substitute teacher, it seems to me that the ONLY recourse available (not knowing enough about the school system) was to just say “You can’t work for us any more.”
I voted NO if for no other reason than – do people have to now be afraid of losing their jobs if they utter in public anything that is going to “offend” someone in any way? Yes, I think she was not very judicious in her public comments, but who hasn’t at some point in their lives. She just happened to do it with a lot of people in attendance with AV capabilities. One must be very careful nowadays when “mouthing” off in public because, like Phil Mickleson once opined when “caught” by a worker in the drive thru at a donut shop in Augusta, Ga., with their cell phone while wearing his newly acquired Masters Green Jacket out in public, which is against the rules, 😉 that EVERYONE is MEDIA today.
“…So long as it’s completely outside the workplace and does not impact one’s ability to perform the job…”
I agree, and I voted no. I tend to think I’d say the same about any other bigoted hate-monster – be they Islamist, Klansman, or Aryan variety of Nazi.
The only problem I foresee is what happens when someone within her work environment makes it an issue? Say a student who, knowing her strongly held views, subtly (or not so subtly) goads her on, or merely repeatedly broaches the topic?
Sure, she might exercise restraint, and try not to go too far with her own responses (specifically I doubt this one is able to do that), but the mere fact that she has this vulnerability is a tremendous potential for disruption.
I’d really hate to be her supervisor knowing that she’s a time bomb waiting to go off.
Would we be having this conversation if she was white and saying that blacks should be returned to Africa? A big fat no. Anti-semitism is the socially acceptable bigotry perhaps because the liberals who are perpetrating the bigotry and the liberal press looks the other way.
How far does the “I’m talking outside of work” excuse go. Many conservative Christians are being fired for not towing the gay is OK line.
Do you seriously think if this went to court that she wouldn’t win? Her lawyer would judge shop until he found a ultra liberal judge. And she probably will go to court defended by the ACLU and paid for by your cheerful tax payers. In other words, you.