Should You Fire the Charlottesville Protesters?

Over the weekend, a group of white nationalists held a march to protest the removal of a Civil War hero statue in Charlottesville, Virginia. Protesters from Antifa and Black Lives Matter showed up in a counter protest and violence broke out, resulting in one death, when a driver rammed his car into the crowd of counter-protesters.

A Twitter account, “Yes, You’re Racist” is working to uncover the identity of the white nationalist protesters. The goal is to notify employers and schools so that the protesters face consequences at work and at school.

So, let’s say you come into the office this morning to find out that one of your employees was part of the white nationalist group? Can you fire him (and from the pictures, it appears to be a male thing), and should you? (These are often two different questions.) Well, the answer is, it depends.

To keep reading, click here: Should You Fire the Charlottesville Protesters?

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11 thoughts on “Should You Fire the Charlottesville Protesters?

  1. “[H]he was at the protest, and he’s a white guy, so yes, racist.” Really? I guess the Alt-Right has been more successful than we thought at peddling their BS that Whites are persecuted. Anyone who would reach that conclusion is a bigot, especially in light of the fact that the majority of the protesters — on both sides — appeared to be White males. I don’t believe that anyone is proposing terminating someone based on their beliefs. However, participating in a protest, carrying signs and/or weapons, interacting with others — including violently — etc., are all actions that go beyond mere beliefs. And, there’s certainly nothing that suggests that any of these actions were protected union activities. If I were an employer, I’d be seriously considering whether any actions were indicated on my part toward employees participating in the events in Charlottesville.

  2. Let’s say any employee is definitively identified. Might end you fire him one the basis of his public actions reflecting badly on the company and possibly damaging the business?

    When I started work in 1979 for one of AT&T’s they told us that if our outside activities reflected poorly on the company we could be disciplined or fired.

  3. This is tricky legal territory. I agree with Suzanne; employers should be really careful to make sure they’re not firing someone unlawfully.

    You can be fired if your employer deems your presence disruptive and all the legal conditions are satisfied. If you work with clients, they could decide it’s too much risk–what if one of them recognizes you and they lose customers because nobody wants to contribute to your livelihood?

    And she’s right that mob identification can often result in a mistake–recently in London, a jogger randomly pushed a woman in front of a bus. Quick action by the driver kept her from being killed. The police picked up an American who was not even in the country at the time of the incident because he looked like the jogger in the CCTV video (they still haven’t found him). Luckily, they realized their error quickly and the man was cleared. If the cops can mess up, then anyone can. So do your due diligence.

    I think people need to remember that our right to free speech only applies to government interference with that speech. This means the US government can’t prevent you from airing your opinion on Twitter, or marching to protest an injustice, or even staging a detestable display such as this group did, as long as you’re not breaking any other laws.

    But it does NOT protect you against the consequences of that speech. When you’re out in public, you have NO expectation of privacy. You should know that attending public events might mean your face ends up on TV. People might be able to identify you. Social media makes it very easy to figure out who someone is. And yes, it may affect your employment.

    On the other hand, DO NOT DOX PEOPLE. Identification is one thing. But putting people’s personal information (addresses, employers, Social Security numbers, etc.) on the internet is NOT okay. That gets into some very murky moral territory, because it’s usually done to facilitate harassment.

    Just don’t be that person. If I were an employer and I found out you were doxxing people, regardless of whether they were Nazis or not, I would really rethink my decision to hire you.

  4. Dear grannybunny –

    Uhh, isn’t your statement “Anyone who would reach that conclusion is a bigot” pretty much the pot calling the kettle black?

    What I especially appreciate about the Evil HR lady in particular and this site / posted comments in general, is the objective approach and the balanced tone.

    I don’t think calling people racists or bigots is particularly helpful.

    1. Well, I’m sorry, but anyone who alleges that just because someone is a White male, they are racist, is a bigot.

  5. What possible gain could be made by firing an employee for their personal beliefs. Being unemployed and collecting unemployment insurance can spiral some former employees into a deep hole of little self worth and anger. This scenario could only result in more unrest.

    1. Answer is complicatedly simple.

      Simple in that if it is not OK to fire a person who attends a rally and is “ID’d” (by some anonymous tweeter) as “Pro BLM” or “Pro LGBTQ”, then it is equally not OK to fire a person similarly “ID’d” at a rally as a “Racist”/”Racism supporter”.

      Both are Political Positions that, unless declared up front at hiring, that Employers cannot ethically take.

      Unfortunately, the Ethics are complicated by Media Driven Politics (and mob violence), so Employers are in a DIYD, DYID situation.

      Easy answer? Hire Robots.

    2. A vast majority of jobs involve dealing with black people on at least a semi-regular basis, and if one of my employees’ believed that it was ok to discriminate against them, it would make me think twice about their ability to work with black clients/co-workers.

  6. Fast answer, my people are Jews and Rrom. If I found out I had hired one of those people, I’d be terrified that they found out or knew that about me. As far as I’m concerned Black Lives Matter is not a hate group. A Neo Nazi or white supremicist group IS. I don’t care if they’re good at hiding it. They’re coming into my office and being asked straight to their face if the picture is of them. And I won’t challenge unemployment and I might even be polite enough to give severance if they never let on about it at work, but there is no way that a group where the presiding ideology is that certain people are less than or should die or be sent out of the country won’t some day let it show at work either with coworkers or with customers. You can’t keep things hidden forever and with the current political climate people don’t want to because they think it’s okay. I don’t work for a government. I won’t work with Nazis.

  7. Anyone spotted carrying a Nazi flag deserves to be fired. You can’t have them representing your company. People absolutely can and will hold retaining a racist employee against you.
    Wearing Nazi propaganda is violent without any physical altercation required.

    1. I’d say the same thing about those wearing Klan robes or other indicia. I simply do not want to work around — or force my employees and clients to be around — someone who believes that it’s acceptable to murder someone because of their religion, gender, sexuality, etc.

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