Thursday, February 10, 2011


There are jokes about the president that are in good taste and those that are in bad taste. When you use your employer’s computer for personal business or when you forward bad jokes to your co-workers, you are misusing your employer’s property, thereby placing jeopardizing your job security. What you do at home is your business, but what you do at work is your employer’s business.

These two jerks deserved to be fired. Not only was their Obama joke in bad taste, but it was racially offensive to boot.


Mail Online
February 9, 2011

Two workers who were fired over an email that compared US president Barack Obama to a 'tar ball' have taken legal action against the employers.

Deborah Bonanno and James Sprung received the email and forwarded it to co-workers after the BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spills last Summer.

The email showed a picture of Barack Obama walking along the beach under the headline 'Another tar ball washed up on the shore.'

Obama had been visiting the beach to inspect damage cause by the oil disaster. During part of the trip he inspected balls of tar in the sand.

The two employees were fired from Centers for Rehab in Pittsbugh after they had forwarded it to their co-workers.

But Bonanno and Sprung have now filed lawsuits against Centers for Rehab, part of health firm UPMC, claiming they should not have been sacked.

The company said the e-mail was inappropriate, but the employees said they were just expressing their political views and were wrongfully fired, according to WTAE news in Pittsburg.

In a memo, a Centers for Rehab Services official called it 'an inappropriate e-mail that contained political and discriminatory content.'

The lawsuit said the e-mail led the company to fire Deborah Bonanno and James Sprung who received the e-mail and forwarded it to co-workers.

In court papers, an attorney for Bonanno and Sprung said: 'The motivation behind CRS' termination was to stifle (the employees') freedom of expression on a matter of public concern.'

Vic Walczak, the ACLU's legal director in Pennsylvania, said employees have 'very few' rights to sound off at work.

Walczak said he had not seen the lawsuits, but he said the Constitutional right to free speech does not apply when someone uses a workplace computer.

'They can say, 'We don't want any political discussion, we don't want any religious discussion, we don't want any discussion of Democrats, you're free to talk about Republicans.

'Again, while you couldn't do that if you were the government, when you're a private employer, you call the shots.'

Walczak said that companies also have the right to control some personal behaviour outside the workplace.

A spokeswoman for UPMC, which is affiliated with Centers for Rehab Services, did not comment on the lawsuit but said that UPMC has a long-standing zero-tolerance policy for e-mails that are racially, sexually or otherwise offensive.

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