Recently, a firefighter in South Carolina lost his job over a computer animated cartoon he made about a situation that occurs in hospitals and nursing homes every day. He got his ass fired over it.
Naturally, there is no labor contract to give him any job protection or the requirement the employer needs “just cause” to fire him. In a “right to work” state like South Carolina that embraces “employment at will” much like it wraps itself in the confederate flag, he is toast.
Here is a similar digitized cartoon made to point out the injustice and insanity behind the firing. http://ow.ly/1rlJo
Maybe there is a lesson here for all public employees. First Amendment freedom of speech protections, all public employees would like think apply to them, are very limited. The First Amendment does not prevent employees from being disciplined for expressions they make about their professional duties.
There may be protection under collective bargaining rights, but….
What is the solution?
• Collective bargaining rights for all public employees would be a start.
• Three brain cells that can operate together would be a help to some public sector managers and fire chiefs.
• A change in the make-up of the conservative, right wing Supreme Court, largely appointed by repuplicans Reagan and Bush, would help.
• More care about what a public employee says in public, until hell freezes over, would be helpful as well.
• Be careful what you say.
And Oh yes, have a nice day?