Human Resources News & Insights

Anonymous one-word comment costs worker his job

You’d probably fire an employee who embarrasses the company online. What about someone who writes an inappropriate comment that never mentions his employer?

That’s happened recently at a Missouri school.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran an online article asking readers, “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten?”

One reader posted a one-word reply. The word? A vulgar term for a female body part.

The comment was immediately deleted by a site administrator. Within minutes, though, it reappeared. The administrator looked up the commenter’s IP address and found the comment came from a local school.

Believing it was most likely a student who posted the juvenile response, the paper contacted the school. It turned out the comment was written by an employee.

He was confronted by the school’s headmaster and resigned, the Huffington Post reports.

It certainly wasn’t the first time an employee lost his or her job because of something written online. But in most cases, the firing takes place to protect the company’s reputation or prevent online harassment — for example, when employees bad-mouth their employer or a boss or co-worker.

In this situation, though, the comment couldn’t be traced back to the school by any other than the folks behind the scenes at the paper’s Web site.

However, if the employee worked with children (no word as of yet on what exactly the man’s job was), just posting the comment may have been enough for the school to want him gone. Also, using an employer’s equipment to write an obscenity is, of course, frowned upon.

What do you think? Is an anonymous vulgarity enough to cost an employee his job? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest Human Resources news and insights delivered to your inbox.
  • Debbie

    His comment was certainly “tasteless” (pun intended), and his resigning over it sounds to me like some sort of severance agreement was reached.

    I do think that an employee who posts obscene comments online while on company-paid time should be subject to disciplinary action. Firing, though, might be a bit much.

  • Terrence

    Debbie, in this case, I think that firing was quite appropriate. After all, would you want him around your kids?

  • Debbie

    He wasn’t fired; he resigned.

  • Essie

    If teachers were paid what they deserve, the job would attract higher quality people, and those who create situations like the above would be replaced by them. Our poor children.

  • Al

    I guess if we were in a socialist society and people could artificially choose which careers “should” make more, then everyone would be teachers and get PHDs in soft skills. Other than that, maybe teachers should make what they can make.

  • Josh

    Well… obviously posting while at work was stupid and really not as funny as he probably thought. On the other hand, if he posted it from home, regardless of tastefulness I am in a position to say who cares?

    We need to be careful where to steer our world. We are fast losing our freedom of speech and expression thanks to technology and uber- conservative thinking. And yes, even adolescent comments like the man in the story… if it was at home, on his own profile or site… leave it alone. His reputation and success is up to him.

    As a consumer, I don’t give a rats *ss who where what clothes or how many earrings or if someone has a mouth of a sailor (I always wonder what sailors think of that expression), as long as I get the service and the product… I DON’T CARE.

  • Nate

    Essie: Level of pay is irrelevant. There are highly paid executives who do worse than this. If teachers want to get paid what they are worth get rid of unions and adopt a merit system. If this guy made the remarks using his employer’s computing equipment then that’s all the justification his employer needed.

  • Will

    You all are so two-faced and hypocritical! The question was asked, and didn’t limit responses to non-slang terms or non-vulgar words. Why is it that you ask and you get then you get pissed off when someone comes thru!? Then you all think that our teachers and administrators are somehow all wearing halos or something, they don’t! If you want them wearing halos then hire them that way…”let me see your halo before I hire you”.

  • Lisa

    I think the main factors are this man’s performance history, what his job function was and if he posted his remark while at work or outside of work during personal time. I can relate to an individual being a representative of their employer, but let’s be real. We all live in the real world and have experienced certain indiscretions, whether self-imposed or not. While we should all be accountable for our actions, if this man had a good performance history, was not working with children and had posted this non-threatening remark on his own home computer outside of work time, perhaps a strong reprimand would have sufficed vs. him losing his job…”resignation” or not, I think we can presume his resignation was not entirely his idea.

  • Cheryl

    I won’t be subscribing to the St. Louis Post Dispatch or participating in any on line commentary ever again as I have done so on my lunch break in the past. I believe the paper was sneaky and malicious in the way this was handled. What happened to free speech? I strongly believe the teacher’s consitutional rights were violated.

  • Greybeard

    Comment highly inappropriate for a school employee (in a society where we can’t always trust a priest/minister or sports coach not to take advantage of kids, why would we take any chances with a school employee?)
    –and–
    use of school (employer’s) computer — wrong in any case, & dumb because easily traced/easily caught.

    No loss to the school district.

  • Paula

    Although the comment is in poor taste, the resolution to this issue should be determined by the work related implications. If the employee did this on company equipment and during work hours, the outcome should be determined per company policy. If the company has a strong electronic communications policy, termination may be appropriate in this case; if not, it may warrant written documentation. Same consideration should be made with policies relating to misuse of company time. What does company policy say regarding conducting personal business while on company time? The final consideration should be the potential impact to the company’s reputation. Since the employee posted this comment while at work and from company equipment; did this situation impact public opinion of the company? In my opinion, the employee did the right thing by resigning.

  • SS

    How do we know the poster with the potty mouth is unfit to work in a school??

    I certainly don’t want my kids hanging out with a bunch of perverts at school, but I also want my kids to enjoy the FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Lots of us use language with adults that we wouldn’t dare use around kids. And I bet there are people out there who think we’re just awful for using that kind of language. That’s why the founding fathers included the bit on free speech.

    As for this story… there may be some stuff we don’t know. The fact that he resigned makes me wonder if maybe he had some other problems at work.

  • HR girl

    Essie and Al,
    Being a teacher required a degree, certification and in some case and masters or PhD. It takes a higher quality person to be a decent teacher but it’s unfortunate that they are not compensated enough for their work with our children. Ask most teachers and they will say it is for the reward of being able to change a childs life every day. When was the last time any of us change someone else life in a positive way?

    They should be paid more because they deserve it.

    With regards to this teacher and it tackless comment to article that got him fired, he is just an example of those few individuals that are in every company – the bad employee.

  • Josh

    I agree with Cheryl…. they shouldn’t have traced it and thrown it in his face. However, if the school otherwise found out a person was violating a policy on the use of company computers etc, then and only then, he should have been disciplined.

  • ASM

    Where in the article does it say the employee is a male?

  • Becky

    One, the first time, the comment was deleted by the IT guy…… so the guy put it in again, a second time…. he apparently was DETERMINED that his comment be posted. With that kind of stubborn persistence, you cannot say HIS rights were violated – all of those kinds of sites have disclaimers saying “We reserve the right…” He posted it twice, even after a warning “Delete”.
    Yes, getting rid of unions, and establishing a merit system, would absolutely cause me to vote for more teachers raises. What part of: when you insist that no one can be fired, no matter how badly they abuse my children: and the very best teacher my son ever had – your union didn’t protect her from being fired, because she wouldn’t play ball and do their website for free.- you drag all this scum along with you, every time you come to the voters and you ask for a raise. Or, you go to the School District, whom we elect, and who are parents, themselves. Until and unless you clean up your own front room, and stop forcing us, via your union, to pay premium wages for scum as well as the good teachers, you’ll not get another raise out of me. My wages are based on bottom-line production, and conformation to the company goals. School employees should Never have been allowed to go off that standard!!! From home, the guy can do what he wants…. BUT, the FCC can visit him at home, then. Every one else gets fined, why shouldn’t he? Because he works at a school? Again, they should NEVER have been allowed to go off the standard that the rest of us have to live by.

  • Angel

    Most of the time you are givin a choice.. Quit or be fired.. and I’m sure he would have rather a resignation on his resume instead of being fired. I know I would. I know lots of teachers that use profinity when at home and away from the job. That doesn’t mean they are unfit to teach our children.

  • Bunny

    Terrence. So what you are saying is that every adult that has used an obscenity (or used extremely, in this case harmless, poor judgement) should be fired and banned from working with children? Do you really believe that? Give me a break.

  • Jes

    Most companies have a statement in their policy or employee handbook that goes something like this:

    “NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY – administration may intercept, monitor, copy, review, or download any communications of files that are sent, received, or stored on OUR SYSTEMS.” That’s what I’ve implemented for my private business, and if you don’t already, I highly recommend it.

    The “Freedom of Speech” proclaimers need to read the article. He did this on a school computer. They traced the IP address to the school. He no doubt embarrassed the them, and I’m sure, like any other employee who misuses/wastes time on the clock – they can terminate his employment. No one said he couldn’t say it, he just needed to do it OFF THE CLOCK and ON HIS OWN COMPUTER.

    Hopefully he’s learned a lesson in professionalism.

  • Cindy

    First of all, the article never said he was a teacher, in fact, it states that his occupation at the school is unknown. As far as the St. Louis Dispatch is concerned, what ever happend to innocent fun? I clicked on the link and read the question that was asked, it asked about food, not the human anatomy. People are so perverted now days that you can’t even ask a simple question without it turning into something disgusting. Thank goodness he lost his job, he doesn’t deserve to work around children with that type of attitude. The school was generous in giving him a choice, I would’ve just fired him. At least, he had the sense to resign.

  • BW

    How many other jobs offer the benefits and the security teachers have (once they are tenured it is very hard, if even possible, to fire them, no matter what they do). Their unions give them everything, they don’t have to work 12 months like most people do, minus vacation time. They have the option of getting PT jobs, during summer, school breaks, in the afternoons/early evenings, etc. I know quite a few teachers who say they can’t leave their jobs due to their benefits, although now they have to pay 10% (up from 0%) of their family health insurance. Then there are a few teachers who did quit for good reasons.
    Perhaps respect (for using the employer’s computer) and a lack of common sense was this “persons” problem. Why do people and I guess this “person” forgot their are consequences for actions.

  • Jon

    I think it is just terrible. I may not agree with what people have to say but I will defend to the death their right to say it. If this person did not slander the school then there is NO REASON for them to care.

  • Judy Buckley

    A few words on judging teachers on a “merit” system. I have two daughters (quality women) who are teachers and when they protested (in our informal conversation) that teachers shouldn’t be judged on the merit system I was surprised. But, they said, “Who decides the guidelines for what merit means?” In most cases it’s based on how a school does on certain types of tests all the students take. In a public school system, many special needs children are included in mainstream classes, along with students who can perform at grade level and those who are gifted. There are also many of society’s issues represented (kids having trouble adjusting to parents’ divorce, for example, as well as those with learning and behavior problems) so a teacher with 25 (Kinder) to 35 (elementary) kids in the class has to teach all of them at the various learning and behavioral levels and strive to meet the academic benchmarks represented by these tests. I’ve heard it called “teaching to the test.” Teachers aren’t the only ones in the education equation – parents and students and administrators and politicians and, yes, unions, all have to do their part. In my opinion, teachers are some of the most valuable people there are and they don’t do it to get rich, but I’m sure they’d welcome a better pay rate.

  • HRSandy

    The responses to this story are very revealing as to where our society is going. If an individual has a computer in a school, they must have some degree of responsibility. Where is the judgment of an individual to post an obviously vulgar remark, have it deleted by the website and then repost it… on company equipment that can be traced back to a school!! There is no excuse for this individual to be doing this from a school computer, no matter if they are a clerk or the principal of the school. It goes to poor judgment period. Most organizations have a policy against using company equipment for personal use. I think this situation was handled correctly. Where is the common sense of some of you people. And you call yourselves HR professionals!!

  • Jes

    The article says “He”… and why are we even discussing teachers? Bottom line, this is a school employee.

    Jon – he embarrassed the school by utilizing their equipment to post his comment, and they can dismiss him for that.

    No one stopped him from typing it… anyone can say whatever they want…. but there are repercussions for our actions – I guess people have forgotten that? I have to agree with BW on this one.

  • Debbie

    ASHM: “Where in the article does it says the employee is a male?”

    In the article: “HE was confronted by the school’s headmaster and resigned.” Assume HE is a male.

  • D.S.

    From a recent HR Daily Advisor, by BLR (Business & Legal Resources): “You’re making the classic fourth-grade mistake—Yes, the First Amendment grants you the right to freedom of expression, but it only applies to the government, which must give you the right to free speech. The amendment doesn’t apply to private entities, which are within their legal rights to prevent you from freely expressing yourself on their time.”

  • Flee

    I think the story should have left out the sex of the worker. It was irrelevant to the story. If they violated computer use policy, they should be punished accordingly. If they could post or chat after hours from school computers, they should be left alone. A school should respect the right to free speech more than any other institution. I doubt anyone on the site could tell it was someone from the school. It all seems very 1984′ish that the paper would look into where the post came from. One persons vulgarity is another persons common speech and often from the mouths of babes.

  • Nate

    Tearchers aren’t a special case with respect to the merit system. There variables in every job, and objectives that appropiately factor test scores can be determined. The time has come to reject union protectionist arguments.

  • Nate

    D.S.: To your point, is this a public school or private? If public then there might well be a 1st amendment issue.

  • AS

    I agree sex does not matter. Work computers are for work and home computers are for home. If you are going to use your work computer for personal things then keep them appropriate.

    What happen here was just plain DUMB. Pretty funny that the Paper’s web site has enough time to look this kind of stuff up. There is room to downsize there. LOL

    I am sure there is more to this story. Such as looking for a reason to get rid of him or he left because he would have been in a whole lot more had the school done an invetigation. Which I am sure they are required to do when things like this come up.

    Teacher’s pay may not be good but they choose their profession. We all know that having a job that you like can be far more important then pay.

  • Mike J.

    The issue here is stupidity. The person involved was stupid. Anyone with any computer literacy knows that posts can be traced and should also think that just maybe if you make your self a pest you may attract some unwanted attention. The paper did what it thought was best under the circumstances. (It is true that two stupids doesn’t make a smart).
    As for the teacher commemnts. I think our system worries way too much about degrees and way too little about teaching ability. My father has 4 degrees he got in 3 1/2years at Pitt including a masters and one in aerospace engineering, (yes he is a rocket scientist). He also is totally incapable of teaching anything. I once made the mistake of asking for some help on some calculus homework, he does have a math degree. 30 minutes later I was more confused than when i started. The ability to take tests and pay for courses has no bearing at all on a persons teaching ability. We need to find a better indicator such as a merit system. While Iagree that many factotrs can affect how well a student tests it is true that a good teacher finds ways to get around these issues. A good teacher finds motivators, a great teacher inspires their students to excell. All too many of our teachers do neither.

  • Beth

    If everyone who thinks this person should have been fired has NEVER used a vulgar word, NEVER used an inappropriate word, or NEVER told or even laughed at a dirty joke, then God bless you because you are certainly special. I agree that it was stupid to do this from work. However, I’ll bet that most people who have children have been guilty of a bad word now and then. Bottom line, one needs to know where it is not acceptable.

  • djk

    I think perhaps a “reasonable expectation of privacy” was violated. Litigation coming up.

  • Terrence

    Debbie, mea culpa, you’re right.

    Bunny, with all the abuse of children today, I’d rather be safe than sorry with my kids.

  • Sand

    The key thing is they erased it once and then he re-posted…if he’d left it alone they most likely wouldn’t have done anything about it and they probably would have thought twice about what their next posted question might be and what potential disclaimers should be made in the future.

  • LindaJ

    Not that this is really on point, but since we digress……Who says teachers aren’t well paid?….they sure are in my town and they are taxing us out of our homes. I am so tired of hearing teachers complain that their jobs are ‘hard’ — you know what?….my job is hard too!….and I don’t get every holiday known to man, two weeks at Christmas, a week spring break, and summers off…to say nothing of tenure and retirement at nearly full salary (the greatest peace of mind of all). I say: Teaching is the profession you chose so take the good with the bad (and there is a LOT of good), join the rest of the free world and quit complaining.

  • Becky

    Okay, – doesn’t anybody read the disclaimers on those sites? I’m in accounting, and I do. It says, (paraphrased) If you post what we consider to be pornographic material on our site – because we own it, we will assume, the first time, that you are just having a dumb moment, and that shortly after you will come to your senses and realize, because we deleted your response, that it was inapproprite, in our eyes, on our property, and that you should take comments like that elsewhere. BUT, if you persist, and force us into a position where our other visitors could sue us because they become offended by your persistant actins on our property, we wil ban you, AND we will track you down and turn your name into the authorities, so as to prevent liability on our company’s part.
    It slays me that I’m reading HR Professionals comments who do not understand this!!!! HR spends 99.9% of their time protecting the corp. from liability, and you can’t see this???
    The guy sent his comment into a privately owned website, and he violated their policies…. so they turned him into the law. You “click” on “I agree” to access these websites – READ THEM!
    It does not matter if the computer was public or private, or if he was a teacher or not… he violated a contract, using a computer paid for by me and you – NOT his own personal computer, on time paid for by me and you – the taxpayers, and did so by transmitting “soft porn” from a computer used by our children, and by other teachers in preparing lesson materials, correspondence, etc.
    The right to free spech comes from your OWN computer, on your own time, in your own private space – do NOT ask me to pay your wages, and for the equipment while you participate in this kind of behaivior….. I WON’T pay for it, and I’ll prosecute you if you do, before I’ll lose my job to protect your right to violate everyone else’s ability to enjoy the paper! Do what you want – IN the PRIVACY of your own space!

  • Debbie

    Becky, I do believe yours is the DEFINITIVE answer.

  • Crackers

    BS… I guess this is two words.. :-)

  • KR

    Mike J. you beat me to it. I completely agree. This guy was dumb enough to use his work computer to post a non work related and completely inappropriate response to a website. Then he was dumb enough to think that just because he didn’t post his name that he was completely anonymous. Then he was dumb enough to resign when confronted. In the end, it all worked out for the best.

    AS you hit the other point I was going to make. Everyone chooses their own profession. I don’t think anyone becomes a teacher because they think they are going to become wealthy(money wise). I agree what with what someone else said as well that there’s more to happiness in a job than just money. How many of us chose HR as a profession because of the money? Anyone?

    Bottom line is the money is not going to attract quality people. It’s going to attract people who care more about money than our kids. It’s going to attract people who are only going to keep the job because of the money and who will most likely be miserable in their job and take it out on the kids. I don’t know the solution to inadequate pay for teachers. If you can figure that out you can help the rest of us who are inadequately paid for the jobs we do.

    Integrity cannot be bought. AIG, WorldCom and Enron did not have their problems because of the rank and file(low earners) employees. Their problems were due to the greed of their Executive staff who’s motto apparently was “you can never have enough.” What this school system and every company in the world needs is to hire people with integrity. That takes careful planning and selection. And even then there is no guarantee…

  • http://www.evergreensolar.com HRHeidi

    You go Becky I can not agree more!

  • SS

    HRSandy, who appointed you the decider of what’s vulgar?? That’s why we have free speech.

  • Pam

    ASM:
    right here: He was confronted by the school’s headmaster and resigned, the Huffington Post reports

  • Sharon

    I think the topic has been hashed throughly. My complaint is with the picture of the giggling women viewing the comment. I hope thie is not an editorial comment on the views of hrmorning.

  • HRster

    I’m a little amazed at how we rush to pass judgment about a situation for which we do not have enough facts to make an informed decision. Human resources professionals need facts in order to decide appropriate actions. We don’t have enough facts in this matter to know whether termination (or forced resignation) was appropriate. For example, how many times before this had the employee been warned about inappropriate language, inappropriate use of the company’s equipment, etc.? And, how far had the employee already progressed in the progressive disciplinary process (assuming there is one in place)? We know that after posting the comment a second time, the paper took a course of action that ultimately ended with the employee’s resignation. Without doing more research, we don’t know enough of the facts to draw any solid conclusions about the paper’s or the school’s actions being right or wrong.

  • HRSandy

    I agree with Debbie, Becky had the definitive answer. And to SS, I didn’t decide what was vulgar, in this instance, the St. Louis Post Dispatch decided and that is entirely their right on their website.

  • Lisa

    To Becky in Accounting: If you re-read the article, they didn’t turn him in to the “law”, as you say. They turned him in to his employer. Disclaimer or not, this action caused this man to lose his job. As HR Professionals, it’s as much our job to protect the company from potential liabilities as it is to ensure equity amongst the employees. As an HR Professional, I know first hand that an employee’s termination of employment may be because of a long history of bad performance or a single grave misstep. The article doesn’t elaborate on that, so I would have to say that no, I don’t agree with other posters on this thread that you have the “definitive” answer. Unless you have all the facts, the answer is not so cut & dried as you have supremely decided. I dealt with a similar situation with an employee who verbally and physically threatened the wife of another employee via email from her personal email account on company-owned equipment. Yes, vulgar and profane language was used. After a thorough investigation, the employee was ultimately allowed to keep her job. Contrary to your belief, there is much to be considered before throwing up your hands and saying, “you’re fired.”

  • hr larry

    You Either have a policy of company equipment usage or you don”t. If you do it doesn”t matter if it was a recipe for chocalate cookies or little league box scores that was posted.

  • MMAN

    I agree that this person used poor judgement in posting the comment, however I don’t think that this should merit termination or forced resignation. Why couldn’t he/she just receive a write up or reprimand or something? Come on folks, punishment must fit the crime and I don’t feel the crime was worthy of him/her loosing his job.

    On another note, while this person’s comment was really tasteless, some of you on this board seem to feel that school employees are somehow expected to live different lifestyles than the rest of us- like they shouldn’t even have, let’s say “intimate relationships” like, it is a shocker if they do. It is pretty poor taste that the person posted this comment but come on, to loose his/her job over it. Please. I actually did some substitute teaching in the past and I heard one teacher say in relation to going to a local water park, that she wouldn’t stop wearing her bikini even if they school system didn’t like it. To me something like this is much worse than what we are talking about here.

    Oh by the way, the St. Louis Post Dispatch is a media outlet right? I thought they were the companies who were pro-free speech freedom of press and all that, all the way. What if they were told they could not publish a story because someone thought it was too offensive?

  • http://www.monogramsystems.com Jeanette

    Sadly, depending upon the age of the employee, s/he may not even have thought it was a poor choice of words. If you have walked anywhere recently where younger folks are having “normal” conversation, it is no surprise to hear this type of language. The “F” and “S” words don’t even cause a blip of concern. The media and the parents of these young people have done them a great disservice. Besides working in HR all day, I teach at the university at night, so am exposed to this language on a regular basis. How can we expect employees to know what is or is not appropriate?

  • Lisa

    Jeannette, I agree. I hear kids as young as 9 or 10 using such strong language. They get it from the media and the people around them. I have even heard a young mother ask her 4-year old “what the F*** is wrong…” It’s horrible. I personally believe it’s a by-product of a larger issue that many people have gotten very relaxed in their values & morals. I’m certainly not a “conservative”, but I try to think about long-term effects of my actions and/or decisions, which not only affect me, but also the people around me. Too much of society, especially the younger crowd, (including my own 30-something age range) are too preoccupied with instant gratification. I’m all for progress, but let’s take educated steps forward — don’t just shoot for the brass ring because it’s shiny — think about why you want it, how it will benefit you and those around you and the smartest way to achieve it.

  • David

    Essie,

    What do you feel teachers deserve? In my school district, when you look at the number of days teachers come to school and the number of hours they are there, the average hourly rate for an elementary school teacher is between $35 and $45 per hour. That’s pretty good if you ask me.

  • Cathy

    This isssue is not about teachers’ pay. The person had no expectatio of privacy. However, why wasn’t thislanguage filtered by the IT dept?

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Anonymous one-word comment costs worker his job | HR Morning | Your daily dose of HR -- Topsy.com

  • BW

    Jeanette,
    Why would you ask ,”How can we expect employees to know what is or is not appropriate”? You posted you teach at a university. How about TEACH others that the “F” word isn’t acceptable in the professional world of business, nor should it be in society.

  • http://www.monogramsystems.com Jeanette

    BW:

    I do certainly emphasize those issues to my 90+ students every quarter…but it’s the ones who are in the workplace and have not ever learned that continue the bad behavior. Ranks right up there with dressing appropriately, knowing that it’s important to come to work on time, etc.

  • BW

    Jeanette,
    Well, you could either confront those people or complain to HR if it offends you. At least you are informing your students that it is not appropriate nor acceptable in society.

    Why do most people think we need to accept the younger generations ways vs. the older (who were more than likely brought up to work hard for what they want in life and not expect everything to be given to them just because…)? Maybe “compromise” should be considered.

  • NM

    Just an FYI for all those union-bashing comments – in this case it states that the Headmaster confronted him. Public schools don’t typically have headmasters – that’s a private school designation, so I’m guessing this wasn’t a public school – hence no unions for everyone to gripe about. And why can’t people stay focused on the issue with their comments? Gets pretty tiring listening to people twist the issue so they can get back up on their favorite soapbox.

  • ZS

    If the posting was anonymous and removed immediately, then there was probably no damage done. The poster was tracked down and should have been disciplined for inappropriate behavior. The readers of the article could just go on thinking that it was a student being stupid and go on with their lives. The fact that the person resigned after all the detective work just brought the issue even more into the forefront.

    If the person had signed a morality contract of some nature due to the school they were working at, then it becomes a termination worthy breach of contract….

  • Janet in CA

    In California, teachers and other public sector employees belong to unions because the State law requires union representation for negotiating contracts, terms and conditions of employment, etc. Thank the legislators for that… in the late 1970′ and into the 1980′s, private sector unions were losing their membership and power. Unions DO contribute to campaign funds! When looking at teacher’s hrly rates, let us not forget they work substantially less than the 12 months a year most of us do – winter break, spring break, summer break, holidays, and on and on.

    Of course the comment was tasteless (disgusting?) It violates Federal/State laws regarding sexual harassment, was directed at females, etc. Discipline up through termination could have been guided by these existing and required workplace investigation procedures.

  • Director, Human Resources

    Everyone has an opinion and a right to it. However, bottom line here is that the school more than likely has policies, procedures and ramifications for inappropriate conduct. Upon investigation, I assume his behavior was outside the policy and the school had every right to terminate the employee as this action should be deemed a firing offense. His statement was offensive and certainly falls under the EEOC laws of workplace harassment. Therefore, the individual should have been fired. To allow inappropriate behavior in any workplace only sets a precedence for others and should never be acceptable.

  • Claire

    Congrats to the great newspaper that has standards. Secondly, unions have an important place in our culture; however, they no longer do their job. All they care about is tenure and the employees rights; a general degree does not make people competent; especially 5 years down the line. As long as teachers unions refuse to grade their workers, teachers will be looked down on. How about having apprentessships like most of the trades do. Secondly, I think they make a fair salary considering all their benefits. Many of us would like to have a couple months off every year and guaranteed employment after several more–this capitalist country doesn’t work that way. As long as teachers insist on special perks and live outside the economic realities they will lack a quality of respect.
    For dedicated teachers this is not a problem. I sent my child to private school where, as in most incidences, teachers are paid less and are extremely dedicated. Most often because their parents are active in their live and sacrifice for their children. Perhaps the largest problem in our schools is a direct result of parental failure. If children were taught and treated with respect our teachers wouldn’t be wasting so much time babysitting and our tax $$$ wouldn’t have to be spent on metal dedectors and security guards

  • BW

    Well stated Claire.

  • Kathy

    The newspaper asked for “crazyest” things eaten. You know they were looking for shocking answers. Would you be less offended if someone said, “a live goldfish?” Or, “my toe nails?” How about “Boogers!” EWWWe. If he said P**** instead of c***, would you still take offense? What’s crazy about it, anyway?

  • HRSandy

    I would interested to know Kathy’s age, job title and the nature of the business she is in. I am sure the answers to those questions would go a long way in clarifying her last remarks.

  • Rachel

    HRSandy – you’ve got me rolling on the floor in my office laughing. Great comments people! This sure made for an interesting morning.

    Becky – you had the right answer about half way down the page. Thanks for putting it so well.

'