Should a New Jersey Transit worker be fired for burning a Koran?

@Taskr36 (13928)
United States
September 15, 2010 4:59pm CST
So some moron who works for the NJ Transit system got caught on camera in New York ripping pages out of a Koran and burning them near ground zero. I'm going to reserve my own personal opinion on his firing until I get some responses. I'm curious though, do you think this man should have been fired? Should the NJ transit system be allowed to fire employees for actions that they take off the clock, outside of the state, that are not illegal? http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/09/15/nj-man-burned-koran-ground-zero-fired-job/?test=latestnews
7 people like this
19 responses
@spalladino (17927)
• United States
16 Sep 10
I find myself agreeing with Mr. Fish in this discussion. This was an act of public hatred and bigotry and the NJ Transit system has every right to decide that they don't want people who will go to such lengths in their employ. I wonder if this moron was aware that Jesus is mentioned about 25 times in the Koran? I think I have that number right...but I could be wrong.
2 people like this
@spalladino (17927)
• United States
17 Sep 10
I don't really care what Islam believes about Jesus...just pointing out that some of those pages that go up in flames have references to Him on them. The Jehovah's Witnesses do not agree with Christians when it comes to Him either. If fact, their beliefs in this area are more in line with Islam than with Christianity.
@suspenseful (40326)
• Canada
15 Sep 10
No. If it was alright for the military to burn Bibles sent to the troops in Afghanistan, if it was alright for some who destroy Bibles on the mistaken belief that separate of Church and state means no one should read the Bible, then it is all right for someone to tear pages out of the Koran and burn it. From what I heard, it is the last part of the Koran that is dangerous and tells the Muslims that all have to be convert to Islam and that infidels are to be destroyed and if that is the part that is burnt, he may have saved lives. I suppose had he burnt pages out of the Bible, would he have been fired? I doubt it.
@suspenseful (40326)
• Canada
16 Sep 10
Yes. The trouble is that when they say separation of church and state, it was meant to mean no official denomination, for instance, like in England, when the official church is Anglican. But then those in authority and even those who are not take it to mean that any religion is okay unless it is Christianity and I think part of the reason was that attack at 9/11. People started to feel if you oppose the Muslims even telling them that perhaps a mosque should be built outside of the 9/11 area, they feel that the Muslim extremists will launch another horrible attack.
1 person likes this
@elmiko (6640)
• United States
16 Sep 10
i can't really say whether he should be fired or not. he should of known(maybe he did) such an act could cost him his job though. legally he can do such an act though since its in the same legal category as flag burning. simply put, there's nothing illegal about burning the koran in the U.S. however, the reason for is firing is he has made himself a lighting rod and his employer doesn't won't to deal with it.
1 person likes this
@bestboy19 (5482)
• United States
15 Sep 10
Not knowing what New Jersey Transit’s code of ethics is, it's hard to say whether or not he should have been fired. The company I worked for had (and probably still has) a code of ethics. There were things after work we were asked not to do. If the Transit authority had him sign an agreement to obey their code of ethics and this act violated it, they have every right to fire him. On the other hand, if this act does not fall in line with their code, I don't see that they are justified in firing him. I also don't think they are justified in firing him if they don't let their employees know what their code of ethics is or if they are just trying to look politically correct.
1 person likes this
@LaurenInLA (2272)
• United States
15 Sep 10
No. No. No. He should not have been fired. Ripping the pages out of the Quran and burning them is an act that is protected under his constitutional right to Freedom of Speech. What he did was reprehensible but violating his constitutional rights are just as reprehensible. The one thing that separates us from many countries is that we do have certain rights under the Constitution that no one can take away from us. Did the company publicly say that this was the reason for his termination? I haven't yet heard the story
1 person likes this
@djbtol (5501)
• United States
19 Sep 10
After you call him a moron, you say you are going to withhold your opinion? Too late. No, he definitely should not have been fired. It was probably an act of political correctnes by NJ transit. The actual firing was probably based on a zero tolerance policy for anything they don't like, or it was and act of cowardice for fear of political correctness. For those not bound to the religion of politcal correctness, we can see it was a very good thing this man did. He could have burn more and he surely should not have been alone. Freedom of religion is very important in our country and the wasy Osama Obama and his ilk trip over themselves protecting muslims is disgusting.
@Taskr36 (13928)
• United States
19 Sep 10
What do you mean too late? Did you not read the entire sentence? "I'm going to reserve my own personal opinion on his firing" I said he was a moron, I didn't say anything about whether I felt he should be fired. If I felt everyone who is a moron should be fired from their job then you'd hear me complaining about 90% of Walmart employees and probably 95% of federal employees. He was a moron because he did something pretty stupid in a public place allowing himself to get filmed. Regardless of whether his firing was appropriate or not, he was a moron for getting himself into the situation.
@djbtol (5501)
• United States
20 Sep 10
Oh, I see. Pardon my misinterpretation.
@Taskr36 (13928)
• United States
20 Sep 10
Since I do have all these responses I will give my opinion now. I probably would not have fired him if I were his boss. His actions were stupid, but I don't think it rises to the level that would make me fire a decent employee. I probably would have pulled him into my office, and explained to him how his actions in public, even when off the clock, can reflect negatively on the department. Just to be clear though, they had every right to fire him. He's an at-will employee so they can fire him for any reason that is not legally or constitutionally protected.
@jb78000 (15178)
16 Sep 10
no obvious answer - a lot depends on the employment law where he is and his contract. he hasn't broken the law and presumably he wasn't doing this while working but companies sometimes can fire people who do things outside of work they feel reflect badly on the company. my personal view is it is ok up to a point, but make it clear in the contracts what would put somebody's job in jeopardy.
@spalladino (17927)
• United States
16 Sep 10
Apparently NJ Transit felt it was an ethics violation and, as an "at will" employee, they were free to end their association with him at any time for any or no reason. He had no contract...just like those of us who were let go by the railroad I worked at. We were at will, too.
1 person likes this
@jb78000 (15178)
16 Sep 10
well being able to fire somebody for no reason whatsoever is a bit dodgy. plenty of reasons here though if necessary, mainly his actions reflecting badly on them or concern about how he'd treat muslim customers.
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17927)
• United States
17 Sep 10
I agree...and "a bit dodgy" is an understatement. I originally came from a state where an employer had to show cause when firing an employee which gave you more job security.
1 person likes this
@Lore2009 (7389)
• United States
16 Sep 10
Even though it may not be illegal, I think I would have fired him. I wouldn't want someone working for me who has a lot of hate and our customers can be Muslim people too. Ethical it is wrong so it would be a valid reason for me.
@djbtol (5501)
• United States
19 Sep 10
Liberals have much hate and little tolerance for Christians. Should these liberals lose their jobs as well? OK, I agree!
@Lore2009 (7389)
• United States
20 Sep 10
If they know how to control themselves whatever their feelings may be then they can be kept.. basically if they can be professionals and work. That goes for anyone.. but if you do something stupid then, it should be accounted for.
@inedible (773)
• Singapore
26 Sep 10
Waaaaaaait, public burning isn't illegal? America just lets people start fires anywhere they please? I am so moving to America. Y'all should set up a pyromania tourism industry or something. :3
@inedible (773)
• Singapore
26 Sep 10
Seriously though, yes, I think he should have been fired IF AND ONLY IF the New Jersey Transit code of ethics had already been made known to him prior to the incident. If employees are informed of The Code and they still choose to break it, then the employer should have every right to fire them. But if he was not told of The Code by his employers and did not know of The Code, then no, he shouldn't have been fired.
• Canada
17 Sep 10
That was a little harsh of his work to fire him over that... Crazy seriously. What makes the Quran so frigging special its all of a sudden more important than our bible?
@djbtol (5501)
• United States
19 Sep 10
and Obama and his type show no concern when Muslims burn the Bible and when Muslims kill Christians. Obama needs to separate his religious beliefs or else get out of office.
@anniepa (26888)
• United States
16 Sep 10
He's a moron and what he did was stupid and wrong, but NO, he should not have been fired by the NJ Transit System. If he'd worked for a private employer, it would be a totally different story but this is what the First Amendment is all about; a GOVERNMENT agency can not infringe on someone's free speech rights. I don't know if you know this or not, Taskr, but your favorite TV host had the NJ Transit System as the "Worst Person(s) in the World" last night. Annie
• United States
16 Sep 10
But no one is taking his right to burn books away, are they? What if it were a (REPUBLCIAN!) politician and they were censured for the act and ultimately "fired"? Politicians are citizens too (barely ) and afforded the same rights. But somehow I feel we'd all be calling for blood had it been someone elected and not someone "hired." Different ethics? Just different? Well, I'd fire the guy. See ya in court. The fact that this guy milks tax dollars is even more disturbing to me.
• Canada
16 Sep 10
Free speech is one thing (we're not in a totalitarian state here) but hate crimes are another. I would not want to associate with someone who'd burn a flag or any culture, or a holy book of any religion. This person needs to suffer for his immature behaviour.
@Taskr36 (13928)
• United States
16 Sep 10
Well first off I think hate crimes are garbage and unconstitutional. That aside, this wasn't even a crime. He hasn't been charged, convicted, or even cited for a crime. Should they be able to fire him even if he is not being accused of any criminal activity.
@EvanHunter (4030)
• United States
16 Sep 10
As much as I despise the act of book burnings of any kind (unless it is the twilight series...just kidding) I would say he was well within his rights to do what he did. Now if he had of been wearing his city uniform or something of that nature than I could see why they would have a reason to fire him. But from everything I seen so far from the link your provided and the link from the original post inside it I don't think he should have been fired. I would have to see the video myself before I would even consider it further.
• China
17 Sep 10
The company don't have right to rule the worker after work. Although his behavior is unappropriate, if his action hasn't violated the agreement he signed with the company, I don't think they are justified in firing him. Anyhow, his action which I don't approve didn't against the constitution, he shouldn't have been fired.
• United States
15 Sep 10
It's a good question, but unless he had a permit to light fires on a New York city street, and did so in accordance with local fire safety regulations, his actions were illegal.
@Destiny007 (5820)
• United States
28 Sep 10
It is my considered opinion that he should not have been fired. I feel that it was a violation of his 1st Amendment Rights to be fired for a political statement that he made on his own time away from his place of employment. This is my opinion, which I am entitled to and have every right to hold... and if that opinion offends anyone, then I suggest that they get over themselves.
• United States
18 Sep 10
No, he should not be fired. If it's done to him then any company could start doing it on the basis of one's opinion and then that destroys freedom of expression.
@sid556 (31018)
• United States
16 Sep 10
Hi Taskr, Actually, no. I don't think it is fair to fire him for something he did off the clock that was not illegal. I know a lot of companies have strict standards for their employees even off the clock. I do think that what he did was stupid but it isn't illegal to be stupid.
• United States
16 Sep 10
I don't think that he should be fired, but I think that he should take a tolerance class, if that makes any sense? I think that he should be taught to learn about the religion, and that he should be taught that burning books never solves anything.
@evanslf (485)
16 Sep 10
I don't approve of burning the koran, nor of burning the bible, American flag, or anything else. These are stupid provocative acts that only help to cause further trouble. That said (notwithstanding any code that the company may have, the details of which I am not aware of), he hasn't done anything illegal in respect of the US constitution, so on that basis he should not have been fired.