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1 freetoken  Tue, Sep 14, 2010 7:36:55pm

This is a tough one.

Public employees are often burdened with the requirement to be above suspicion in anything related to their duties.

From your link:

Fenton was an assistant train consist coordinator, a job that entails ensuring there are enough train cars positioned to be put into service, sources said. He previously worked as a NJ Transit conductor.

IMO, he probably should not have lost his job (assuming the actual reason is the one given in the NY Daily), though I could see the transit authorities requiring him to work in a non-visible position, one that would keep him from having any interface with the public.

"Mr. Fenton's public actions violated New Jersey Transit's code of ethics," an agency statement said. "NJ TRANSIT concluded that Mr. Fenton violated his trust as a state employee and therefore was dismissed."

It's possible that NJ Transit concluded that Mr. Fenton's aggressively harsh views towards Islam might affect his treatment of fellow employees or riders who are Moslem.

Still, I think NJ Transit could have handled this better.

2 Timmeh  Tue, Sep 14, 2010 10:51:35pm

I don't agree with the content of his speech, but I would rather a public corporation not fire a guy whose job does not involve PR for exercising his first amendment rights. A private corporation, no problem. But not a public corporation.

3 RogueOne  Wed, Sep 15, 2010 2:02:27am

"Ushered out by the police and questioned"? What the hell? I hope every response he gave was "fuck you". As a conductor I would assume he was member of the union, I'm not sure of his status with the new job. I'd wager he gets his job back.

4 What, me worry?  Wed, Sep 15, 2010 6:24:25am

While the freedom lover in me says he has a right to self expression, this is the real world and you really can't put on a public display of bigotry without there being a backlash. It may not be fair, it may not be "legal", but it's human. I'm not so sure I want to remove that human element out of our society either.

5 jc717  Wed, Sep 15, 2010 12:30:12pm

Although I support the mosque, and generally think that the protesters are idiots, this guy should not have been fired.

What if he had instead burned the flag or created a work of 'art' like Jesus in a jar of urine? Should that be a firing offense?

NJ Transit isn't a private company. They should be more respectful of first amendment rights.

6 antigone  Wed, Sep 15, 2010 11:29:33pm

If they aren't going to pay him when he is not at work they have no right to dictate his behavior when he is not at work.

7 freetoken  Wed, Sep 15, 2010 11:32:15pm

re: #5 jc717

re: #6 antigone

As I wrote earlier, public employees are burdened with maintaining a public image.

8 antigone  Wed, Sep 15, 2010 11:44:32pm

re: #7 freetoken

Just because you said it doesn't make it true. You provided no supporting evidence and your rationale was significantly flawed in that the job description you quoted indicated something that was purely behind the scenes.

Furthermore, as a public employee his first amendment rights are far stronger than those of employees in private companies. Refer to Pickering v Board of Education - the summary of which is that the SCOTUS held that a teacher had the right to speak on issues of public importance without being dismissed from his position. The man in question had been fired for writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper.

9 freetoken  Thu, Sep 16, 2010 12:10:33am

re: #8 antigone

re: #7 freetoken

Just because you said it doesn't make it true.

And you think I proposed that?

Furthermore, as a public employee his first amendment rights are far stronger than those of employees in private companies. Refer to Pickering v Board of Education - the summary of which is that the SCOTUS held that a teacher had the right to speak on issues of public importance without being dismissed from his position. The man in question had been fired for writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper.

Yes, but you've missed the important point:

- Mr. Fenton did not "write a letter" but rather created a public nuisance (thus the removal by the police.)

Also, you're ignoring what I wrote about perhaps the NJ Transit being worried that Mr. Fenton would bring his hostile anti-Moslem attitude to work (and obviously NJ Transit serves Moslems.)

Again, I'm not arguing that Fenton should have been fired - if you noticed I said he ought not to be. However, we may not have all the facts, and Thanos is correct that this is not as cut and dried a case as some (like you) would like it to be.


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