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Thread: Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

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    Re: Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    And yet you're completely wrong. The government cannot fire employees for engaging in protected speech. This is absolutely indisputable. The only question here is whether this particular speech is protected, and I think the evidence strongly indicates that it is.
    They can if they sign a contract (ie - saying they agree with NJ Transit Code of Ethics) when they first got the job.
    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    If you can't be bothered to read the links that have been provided to you or the explanations that have been proffered, I don't know what to tell you.
    How about reading this one:
    H.S. Teacher Loses Job Over Facebook Posting - News Story - WCVB Boston

    This teacher was forced to resign from her job for expressing herself on the social networking site Facebook. She did not do it on school time.

    There is a level of professionalism to maintain while working as a federally funded employee.

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    Re: Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    And yet you're completely wrong. The government cannot fire employees for engaging in protected speech. This is absolutely indisputable. The only question here is whether this particular speech is protected, and I think the evidence strongly indicates that it is.

    If you can't be bothered to read the links that have been provided to you or the explanations that have been proffered, I don't know what to tell you.
    Pipe down, NYC, I skim to the end of the thread and answer the first post directed at me -- like most people. How come I haven't dedicated the last two hours of my life to satisfying you??? I was busy. So chill the frack out.

    1) He wasn't fired for engaging in protected speech. He was fired for violating their code of conduct.

    2) He was detained and questioned at the scene -- apparently the police thought his actions were bordering on 'yelling fire in a crowded movie house'. Were Muslims present when he did this? How far were they from the location of the proposed cultural center? Could his actions open the floodgates for others to take it a step further?

    3) What really hurt him was getting his picture taken. When his name is out there, then his information is out there, and he's the new face of N.J. Transit. That's how he violated their ethics code--a very public act of hate speech. If he was working for a city office in another part of the country, he may not be in trouble.

    And I'm getting sick of hearing the ignorant flag burning comparison -- the U.S. flag is a special and unique symbol that represents, in part, the freedom to burn it.

    Burning the Koran in NYC, a metropolitan city with a big Muslim population is the equivalent of defecating on the Puerto Rican flag or pissing on a crucifix-- it's pushing the boundaries of free speech given the time and place -- the context.

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    Re: Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

    Quote Originally Posted by hazlnut View Post
    If cops were practicing free expression when they posed for playboy or playgirl, why were they fired? Their actions off duty reflects on the police department and per their professional code of conduct, those actions potentially have consequences.
    Police officers are generally treated differently than most government employees due to the manner of their interactions with the public and the autonomy that they wield.

    The relevant First Amendment test for when the government may fire an employee for off-duty expression on a matter of public concern (such as the expression here) is unfortunately quite vague: The government may restrict such speech, but only if the restriction is “necessary for their employers to operate efficiently and effectively” (with “necessary” being read a bit loosely). It’s hard for me to see much of an argument that Fenton’s expression interferes with the employer’s effectiveness by undermining public confidence in the employer; Fenton isn’t a spokesman for the employer, or in a position where the public must be able to count on his fairness in exercising discretion with regard to members of the public (e.g., a police officer).
    The Volokh Conspiracy New Jersey Public Transit Employee Fired for Blasphemy


    Quote Originally Posted by Degreez View Post
    They can if they sign a contract (ie - saying they agree with NJ Transit Code of Ethics) when they first got the job.
    So it's your contention that if the government required its employees to sign contracts pledging not to exercise their free speech rights at all, those contracts would be upheld by the courts?

    How about reading this one:
    H.S. Teacher Loses Job Over Facebook Posting - News Story - WCVB Boston

    This teacher was forced to resign from her job for expressing herself on the social networking site Facebook. She did not do it on school time.

    There is a level of professionalism to maintain while working as a federally funded employee.
    Like police officers, teachers are treated differently due to their unique position. Moreover, the fact that she was fired doesn't speak to the question of whether such a firing was warranted.

    Again, you're glossing over the fact that there is a multitude of case law on this.

    http://www.debatepolitics.com/breaki...post1058985677
    Last edited by RightinNYC; 09-15-10 at 10:39 PM.
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    Re: Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

    Quote Originally Posted by hazlnut View Post
    And I'm getting sick of hearing the ignorant flag burning comparison -- the U.S. flag is a special and unique symbol that represents, in part, the freedom to burn it.

    Burning the Koran in NYC, a metropolitan city with a big Muslim population is the equivalent of defecating on the Puerto Rican flag or pissing on a crucifix-- it's pushing the boundaries of free speech given the time and place -- the context.
    So you can burn a flag, but not a Koran? Yeah that makes sense. Burning a Koran is protected speech, and to say it isn't is a slap in the face to the Constitution. Also who cares if he burned a Puerto Rican flag, or pissed on a crucifix? Those a protected just the same. And your whole context argument, can go screw itself. You can't be for speech you only like, free speech is in essence protecting unpopular speech, because popular speech doesn't need protecting.
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    Re: Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

    Quote Originally Posted by hazlnut View Post
    Pipe down, NYC, I skim to the end of the thread and answer the first post directed at me -- like most people. How come I haven't dedicated the last two hours of my life to satisfying you??? I was busy. So chill the frack out.
    You're blaming me for the fact that you didn't bother to read the thread?

    1) He wasn't fired for engaging in protected speech. He was fired for violating their code of conduct.
    And again, the government cannot enforce a code of conduct that violates the constitution (even if we assume that his actions violate said code).

    2) He was detained and questioned at the scene -- apparently the police thought his actions were bordering on 'yelling fire in a crowded movie house'. Were Muslims present when he did this? How far were they from the location of the proposed cultural center? Could his actions open the floodgates for others to take it a step further?
    Thankfully, none of this is relevant under the law.

    3) What really hurt him was getting his picture taken. When his name is out there, then his information is out there, and he's the new face of N.J. Transit. That's how he violated their ethics code--a very public act of hate speech. If he was working for a city office in another part of the country, he may not be in trouble.
    Again, this is just wrong from beginning to end.

    And I'm getting sick of hearing the ignorant flag burning comparison -- the U.S. flag is a special and unique symbol that represents, in part, the freedom to burn it.

    Burning the Koran in NYC, a metropolitan city with a big Muslim population is the equivalent of defecating on the Puerto Rican flag or pissing on a crucifix-- it's pushing the boundaries of free speech given the time and place -- the context.
    Defecating on the PR flag = unprotected hate speech
    Burning the US flag = protected speech

    Interesting theory.
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    Re: Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

    it wasn't that many years ago pissing on a crucifix would win you a generous endowment from the nea

    HOUSE SHUNS BILL ON 'OBSCENE' ART - NYTimes.com

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    Re: Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

    Quote Originally Posted by Your Star View Post
    So you can burn a flag, but not a Koran? Yeah that makes sense. Burning a Koran is protected speech, and to say it isn't is a slap in the face to the Constitution. Also who cares if he burned a Puerto Rican flag, or pissed on a crucifix? Those a protected just the same. And your whole context argument, can go screw itself. You can't be for speech you only like, free speech is in essence protecting unpopular speech, because popular speech doesn't need protecting.
    It's all about context. No, burning the Puerto Rican flag is not always covered. If you do it in a manner "Urging or instigating other persons to riot" or otherwise cause a disturbance.

    If you're at an event, and because of the time, place, and people involved the situation becomes volatile and you take some action that is meant to get the ball rolling and enrage people even further... No, that is not covered.

    Setting fire to something is often the symbolic/literal act of lighting a fuse. And if you are photographed doing this, your boss may feel your services are no longer needed. Clean out your locker.

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    Re: Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

    You don't have that right to a job. An employer has the right to choose to terminate an employment agreement at any time. I don't care if it was the government; he wasn't arrested, had his property confiscated, or faced any other civil or criminal penalties. His rights weren't violated. He acted stupidly and is facing the consequences.
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    Re: Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

    Quote Originally Posted by DrunkenAsparagus View Post
    You don't have that right to a job. An employer has the right to choose to terminate an employment agreement at any time. I don't care if it was the government; he wasn't arrested, had his property confiscated, or faced any other civil or criminal penalties. His rights weren't violated. He acted stupidly and is facing the consequences.
    So if Bush fired every single federal employee who disagreed with any administration policy, you think that would be constitutional? What if the government fired every Jewish or black employee?
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    Re: Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    So if Bush fired every single federal employee who disagreed with any administration policy, you think that would be constitutional? What if the government fired every Jewish or black employee?
    That would be stupid and a very bad political move, but yes, he does have that right.
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