Friday, January 8, 2021

When you discover that you employ a seditious rebel #TraitorsGettingFired

Imagine you discover that Elizabeth from Knoxville is one of your employees.

Or what about Jake Angeli (the self-proclaimed QAnon shamen)?

Or Paul Davis?

Or this guy, who actually wore his work badge to the protest?

Or any of the others amid the hoard of seditious rebels who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday in an act of open rebellion against the United States and its government?

Question: Should these people be fired from their jobs?

Answer: Absolutely!

"But Jon," you ask, "a couple of years ago you told us that the National Labor Relations Act protects individuals' political advocacy during their own time in non-work areas? What gives?"

What gives is that you missed the key first part of this standard—the political advocacy must be non-disruptive. There was absolutely nothing "non-disruptive" about what happened in Washington D.C. earlier this week. It was the very definition of disruptive. It was a violent siege on the seat of our government in an attempt to halt the peaceful transfer of power and overturn our democracy. The violent and disruptive nature of the rebellion removes all hope anyone could hold for any employment protections.

Elizabeth, Jack Angeli, and Paul Davis, and everyone else involved absolutely have the constitutional right to hold whatever opinion they want to hold. And they even have the constitutional right to peacefully express those opinions, no matter how vehemently one might disagree with their conspiracy-fueled point of view. Those rights are what make America great. They also, however, stop at an employer's door. And I, as a private employer, have the right to hold my employees accountable for their viewpoints and terminate when I, in good faith, determine that those viewpoints cross the line into violence or threats of violence and constitute criminal behavior.

More deeply, NLRA or no NLRA, free speech or no free speech, if one participates in violent sedition, I would dare the individual to sue after being fired. Do not pass go, do not collect severance, just bring it on. Because what kind of employer am I if I ignore an employee's role in what just happened in Washington D.C.? 

One more thing. Tell these people exactly why you're firing them. As so expertly stated by my friend Kate Bischoff:
But do me a favor please, make sure you … tell them exactly why you're taking this action. Be honest. They need to understand WHY they are being held accountable or no one learns from this.
Silence in the wake of hate at best condones the hate, and at worst participates in it. If it's my business, I choose not to stay silent.