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Should a person's racial and/ or aggressive behaviour in his free time be allowed to affect his work?

A man accused of slapping a toddler and directing a racial slur towards the boy on a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta has been sacked as well as charged, his former employer has confirmed. Over reaction or just action?

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    Feb 20 2013: Well, if he has only been charged, it would be premature to sack him, wouldn't it? Perhaps he is innocent.
    • Feb 21 2013: I agree, surely they should have waited until he was charged? Perhaps he could argue against the dismissal?
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        Feb 21 2013: Well, Mette, just because someone is charged does not mean they are guilty. Potentially a lot of stuff happens after someone is charged, they may be held in jail or prison, they may post bail, they may decide to admit guilt and accept some sort of plea deal, they may contest the charges and ask for a trial. Or the government sometimes drops the charges, they may decide the person didn't do it, or there is a lack of evidence.

        If someone has been charged and is being held, it could put an employer in a bad spot because the person if they are in jail being held, they can't come in to work every day. I would think an employer would not want to fire such a person because it's sort of like piling on, already they've been charged with a crime they may not have committed and now they're being fired to boot, it's a double whammy. However, some industries may move so fast that if a person is being held in jail a month maybe they get too far out of the loop, although it seems unlikely. I would think if the person ends up being not guilty of the charges or the charges are dropped which is like being not guilty, they could argue against the dismissal.
  • Feb 21 2013: Here's the link in case anyone's wants to read. I can't decide if it's a fair course of action or not? I am vehemently against rascism, on the other hand would certainly not wish everything I do in my spare time (nothing that outrageous anyway) to be known to my colleagues. Is it just action because the company name was mentioned? Therefore damaging the company image.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/18/man-slap-racial-abuse-toddler-flight
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      Feb 21 2013: In all honesty, I think it comes down to whether or not you represent the company during your off hours. Probably the simplest way to look at this is if you are salaried or hourly worker. But still the onus is on the employer to outline work expectations and how the mission and values of the company are reflected in your work.

      I worked for a very religious organization and I am not religious. But I had a role clarification session with my report to at the beginning of my employment. I was to model and live the mission and values of the institution while I was at work but it was not imperative to my off time. Clear role expectation.

      There are a lot of jerks out there. A job is not going to stop them from being a jerk. But if their personality reflects badly on their employer, I think the employer needs to have a clarification of role expectations meeting with the employee. I really do not think a truly valued employee should be fired for a lone single mistake. If they can document a trend, have at it and fire the jerk. I would rather work with my employees to make sure they are properly educated on expectations than throw them away and start over. Just sayin.
      • Feb 21 2013: Good example, thanks. It's surely about having clear role clarification, but I also feel it's about publicity. If it hadn't been publicly known who he worked for, perhaps the company would have waited to see if he was found guilty...
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    Feb 20 2013: An employer accept huge responsibilities that a single employee can destroy in a few words. If an employee cannot respect co-workers, I don't want him around. I don't want the legal liability of such an employee. I don't want such an employee representing my company's brand.

    A job is not a right, nor should I ever be required to hire people who are detriments to my business.
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    Feb 20 2013: It should not affect his work but he might loose his job. Just depends on how dependent one is upon the other.