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Home Depot fired him over God button

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Postby greeney2 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:38 am

As far as I'm concerned, the Home Depot firing this person is justified. I may have tried one other thing before firing him, like giving him a week off first. However, the company policy is clear and for good reason. Also policies of warnings or days off/ demerits/ etc. may not be within thier rules proceedures. My company was so lax on disapline, it was a joke, the Home Depot has a policy and isn't afraid to enforce it. Bottom line is, the button was being worn on a Home Depot named apron. The HD had every right to avoid any and all controversies that would offend any customer, or cause any confrontations. As good as the employees beliefs are, it was not appropriate. Also, I read he would bring his Bible to read during his lunch period, I do not think they said anything to him for that. Nobody stopped him from reading that in the lunch area.

Fla. man says Home Depot fired him over God button
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By BRIAN SKOLOFF, Associated Press Writer Brian Skoloff, Associated Press Writer – Wed Oct 28, 8:35 am ET
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A former cashier for The Home Depot who has been wearing a "One nation under God" button on his work apron for more than a year has been fired, he says because of the religious reference. The company claims that expressing such personal beliefs is simply not allowed.

"I've worn it for well over a year and I support my country and God," Trevor Keezor said Tuesday. "I was just doing what I think every American should do, just love my country."

The American flag button Keezer wore in the Florida store since March 2008 says "One nation under God, indivisible."

Earlier this month, he began bringing a Bible to read during his lunch break at the store in the rural town of Okeechobee, about 140 miles north of Miami. That's when he says The Home Depot management told him he would have to remove the button.

Keezer refused, and he was fired on Oct. 23, he said.

"It feels kind of like a punishment, like I was punished for just loving my country," Keezer said.

A Home Depot spokesman said Keezer was fired because he violated the company's dress code.

"This associate chose to wear a button that expressed his religious beliefs. The issue is not whether or not we agree with the message on the button," Craig Fishel said. "That's not our place to say, which is exactly why we have a blanket policy, which is long-standing and well-communicated to our associates, that only company-provided pins and badges can be worn on our aprons."

Fishel said Keezer was offered a company-approved pin that said, "United We Stand," but he declined.

Keezer's lawyer, Kara Skorupa, said she planned to sue the Atlanta-based company.

"There are federal and state laws that protect against religious discrimination," Skorupa said. "It's not like he was out in the aisles preaching to people."

Keezer said he was working at the store to earn money for college, and wore the button to support his country and his 27-year-old brother, who is in the National Guard and is set to report in December for a second tour of duty in Iraq.

Skorupa noted the slogan on Keezer's pin is straight from the Pledge of Allegiance.

"These mottos and sayings that involve God, that's part of our country and historical fabric," Skorupa said. "In God we trust is on our money."

Michael Masinter, a civil rights and employment law professor at NOVA Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, said any lawsuit over religious discrimination might be a tough one to win.

"Because it's a private business, not one that's owned and operated by the government, it doesn't have to operate under the free speech provisions of the First Amendment," Masinter said.

"But we're not talking about religious displays here," he said. "This sounds more like a political message ... Wearing a button of that sort would not easily be described as a traditional form of religious expression like wearing a cross or wearing a yarmulke."
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Postby frrostedman » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:46 pm

I don't see anywhere where it says they first gave him a week off and then he came back wearing the button.
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Postby greeney2 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:30 pm

No Frrostedman, it didn't say that in the artical, you are right. I said ( and poorly worded it) that I think I would have given him a week off first to think about it, and if he still refused fired him after that. That was what I would have done, but obviously home depot felt, they gave him all the options they wanted to. Their rule isn't anything any other business or company has, where open displaying of political or religious opinions is not permitted. I doubt if any of them would object to wearing a religious medal or necklace, but wearing a badge or button on the company named uniform or work apron isn't permitted.
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Postby frrostedman » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:35 pm

I think they were a little harsh but I don't think he'll win a lawsuit. The attorney has a good point.. the words come straight out of the pledge of allegiance. Here in Texas we have a fast food chain called "Whataburger." They have those words on the windows of their restaurants which I think is kind of cool.
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Postby humphreys » Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:21 am

Companies have dress codes. Some make ties mandatory, some ban trainers, etc.

It's their right to do so, you don't like it, you leave.

Imagine if this guy kept his job after refusing to remove the button, what's next, a guy with a "God hates fags" t-shirt?

While I find absolutely nothing offensive about this guy's button, by wearing it, he sends out the implication that the company itself shares a particular religious view, and if the company does not want to send out such a message, it's well within their right to get the guy to remove it. When he refuses, firing him is definitely justified.
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Postby greeney2 » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:57 am

The button is not why he got fired! Refusing the company decision is insobordination, using an E ticket ride to the unemployment line. What he should have done is comply with the order than appeal it through their Labor Relations Department. Bottom line is Home Depot supplys the aprons that are company loco and company orange color. they are their uniforms, and they get to say what goes on it, or not on it. My neighbors daughter works for Home Depot, I;ll ask her how lenient their stores are. Some places you have to have a darn good plan to get yourself fired they are so lenient. Others might drop you in a heartbeat. I know one restraunt my daughter worked at was very strict. I was 3 minutes late dropping her off to work and they suspended her for 3 days. Boy was she pissed at me, it was a big holiday weekend. Another waitress got a few of the garlic rolls from the Salad Bar to give to s friend with her dinner, and they fired her. Those rolls are only available if you get the salad bar. So some places its very strict to work at.
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Postby Guest » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:36 pm


I think its strange that he says he worn the button for over a year, and only after he started bringing his bible to work did they say he could not wear it. Either the policy changed, or someone got worried about him reading his bible at lunch.

I agree about policies. Check out some of the register ladies at some stores,I've seen 10-20 different buttons on some of them. Everything from worlds best mom, to 10 years service, Lol. They don't bother me, as long as I get good service.


Postby screamzero » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:23 pm

Everything in its proper place...the clever word is more like honey - sticky in the wrong hands.
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Postby Nesaie » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:26 pm

Wow, I'm surprised the Christians around here are chiming in as they are.

Personally, I believe in the Bill of Rights. I believe that anywhere in the US we all have a God given right of Free Speech and Religion. That means that this man was given a right by God to speak freely (his button) and to worship where he chooses (at work). I support this mans right to wear the button. The government cannot stop him. But, a corporation apparently can. :evil:

A question to the Christians here. When you're at work, do you separate your religion from what you do to earn a living?
Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen... - Zbigniew Brezhinsky
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Postby greeney2 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:01 pm

The issue was not his religious beliefs and if you notice the story he was not told he could not read his Bible during breaks or lunch. What he was fired over was insobordination refusing to take a religious button, off a company supplied uniform, with the company name and Logo. He was not told to take off a religious necklace like a Star of David or a Crucifix. He was not prevented from having his Bible during breaks or Lunch. It was a violation of the company uniform. That has nothing to do with Freedom of Speech or the Bill of Rights. Jobs have rules, and jobs have dress codes. Nobody ever said employment is a Democracy where special rules do not have to be followed, otherwise every worker would be free to tell off the customers, and you don't have that freedom of speech, like you do screaming obsenities at your neighbor.

I'm wondering why you call attention to the Christians giving their opinion, I didn't know it was a religous issue, I thought it was an employment rule. The button could just as well been a political candidate button, or political message. The company does not have tolerate any unautorized association or your button with their uniform and company name. It may also be a copyrite infringement, that you are using their company name to gain endorsment of a religion, or political issue. They have a greater right to protect their copyrited logo and company name.
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