By now you've probably heard the story of John Stone, a seemingly very good car salesman who was fired by his Oak Lawn employer (and Chicago Bears sponsor) for wearing a Green Bay Packers tie to work yesterday.
Allegedly his boss told him to take the tie off. Stone apparently thought his boss was joking and didn't do it. Later on when his unapologetic boss saw him with the tie still on, Stone was told to hit the bricks.
I'm sure John Stone didn't wear the tie thinking he'd get fired or provoke his boss. He also probably didn't expect to wake up yesterday and become a nation wide news story; but he has.
While a lot of the sympathy has come down on the side of Stone, others agree with his boss. So since this is my blog, the question is do I think he should have been fired?
The answer is who cares what I think. Under Illinois at will employment law, any employee without a contract can be fired for any reason as long as it's not an illegal reason. And the fact of the matter is that it's not illegal to fire someone because you don't like what they are wearing. It is illegal to fire someone for their race, religion, age, pregnancy, because of a job injury, etc.
Firing someone because they are wearing a Packer tie or because you as the boss are in a bad mood or because you want to hire your girlfriend or any other unfair or untrue reason is irrelevant. It also wouldn't matter if they falsely thought he was a Packers fan and fired him for that reason. Unfair is irrelevant under Illinois law. You are either fired for an illegal reason or legal reason.
I think most people in this case can grasp that this was just an unfair, but not illegal termination. John will probably win an unemployment claim and land back on his feet. That said, if you get fired for an unfair reason, it's difficult to take out the emotion involved over being let go without cause. That is especially true I find when I talk to people who have been working at a place for a long time and feel they gave a lot to building the company.
If you are fired or having trouble on the job, you need to look for evidence (that means facts, not your personal belief) as to what illegal is occurring. If you don't have that evidence your only possible right is unemployment benefits.
On a final note, if you work for me and are reading this blog, if you come in to the office this summer in a Cardinals jersey, consider that your last day. :)
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Filed under: Uncategorized