smoked out

Should Firefighter Be Fired For Saying Nasty Anti-Gay Things On Facebook About His Bosses?

Richard Doherty, who’s been saving people and property from fires for sixteen years, is out of a job for some mean things he posted on Facebook last year aimed at the local cops, his superiors, and the Masschusetts town of Bourne, which employed him. He used the f-word sometimes, and we all know how that comes back to haunt you! Now Doherty is challenging his ouster, and has his union behind him, but this shouldn’t be a lesson in the do’s and don’t’s of appropriate social etiquette. It should be a lesson in how to lock down your Facebook profile, you dumbass.

In his termination, Town Administrator Thomas Guarino stated: “Firefighter Doherty has disqualified himself from the ability to serve as a firefighter because he elected to post on the Internet a message that causes the public to question whether he can serve all of its citizens.”

“The town of Bourne wouldn’t tolerate that kind of mindset from employees. We send out a message that we want them to be professional and we support the town administrator,” said John Ford, Bourne Board of Selectmen. No one answered at Doherty’s home address in Bourne Thursday night, though one of his rants mentioned that he had moved away from the town, which he used an expletive to describe. “I don’t take anything personally. This is a job – we take it serious. We want to protect the reputation of the fire department – we’ve got an excellent fire department, and we want to protect the reputation of the town of Bourne,” said Ford.

Does Doherty’s use of homophobic slurs impact his ability to fight fires? Not necessarily, but I sure wouldn’t want to be the fag who gets left behind in a burning house because Doherty saw my Ricky Martin posters.

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  • Francis

    Obviously yes.

  • Scott Bonzitski

    Yes, I agree with Frances. We recently had some firefighters in this area REFUSE to put out a fire at someones house because “they did not pay the $75.00 retainer fee” (which is due for them to respond) to the fire department when it was due. How can they [the firefighters] pick and choose whos’ house to keep safe? Do they not have to “obey/take/sign” an oath? If FF’s can get away with that, who’s to say this is any different? Except it is inhumane…(By the way,…the aformentioned house burnt to the ground.)…SB

  • Riker

    @Scott Bonzitski: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you choose not to pay for car insurance, what do you expect to happen when you get into a car accident? Do you think the insurance company is going to protect you out of the kindness of their hearts?

    If you choose not to pay for heating oil, what do you expect to happen in the winter? You either pay for heat or you freeze to death.

  • hf2hvit

    @Riker: STUPID. So they would wait for a house to burn down while maybe it sets everything around it on fire? You must be a member of GOProud.

  • Riker

    @hf2hvit: From what I’ve seen of incidents like these, they jump in the minute another building (which pays for protection) is in danger.

    Regarding GOProud, so what if I am?

  • greenmanTN

    @Riker: The purpose of a fire department isn’t just to save the property that is on fire, it’s to prevent the fire from destroying other businesses, dwellings, and land. The fire department in question did show up to put out the fire after it had spread to another home. If they had shown up when they were first called it’s likely that 2nd home would never have caught fire in the first place!

    How would a policy like that work in California, where vast tracts of houses are lost each year to fire, many of them started by arsonists? Should they check their little roll-book to see who has paid or should they put it out before it becomes a conflagration that risks the lives of citizens AND firefighters?

    Membership in GOProud speaks for itself, a willingness to conspire with a political party that opposes not only your basic rights but in many cases your legal right to exist. It actually says quite a bit about a person and their priorities.

  • Cam

    @Scott Bonzitski:

    If you are talking about the situation I think you are talking about, what that was, was that the house was outside the limits of the city or county, so to continue servicing that area they asked for people outside the area to pay them a $75.00 fee. It wasn’t everybody in the city, only people that were living outside the incorporated area of the city that had to pay that fee.

    As for the guy who got fired. The issue seems to be, would he have gotten fired if he was saying the same thing in a bar outside work and his bosses overheard him…probably.

  • Jeffree

    Posting stuff about your bosses on Facebook is stooopid. It’s even lamer if you allow that info to be available publicly.
    His homophobic slurs mean that he may not be willing to serve all citizens equally, so he should find a job where he can discriminâte openly: he’d fit in well as a preacher or a NOM speech writer.

  • Riker

    @greenmanTN: The policy may not work in California, which is why towns in California haven’t enacted such a policy. Just because something wouldn’t work in California doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work in other parts of the country.

    Regarding GOProud, it really isn’t relevant to this conversation. However, I will elaborate on my position. At least a third of the country is strongly Republican, and another 15-20% of the country lean that way. We can’t obtain equality by ignoring or trying to overpower them.

    I’m playing the long game now. Rather than pretending the don’t exist, I’m working to teach the Republicans that gays deserve their human rights as much as they do. Over the last decade or so, there has been a measurable shift in the Republican Party from supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment, to some of us supporting DADT repeal and even same-sex marriage. In 2000, a Republican supporting same-sex marriage was blasphemy. Now, not so much. This is in large part due to gay Republicans.

  • Oprah

    Where is the actually quote the fireman allegedly did? If you are going to report something, have all your facts in check. As for the idiot using the F word–it depends on what tone and contect he used it.

  • Shannon1981

    LOL by now, with all the horror stories regarding people’s lives being ruined by things posted on social networking sites, people stupid enough to discuss their jobs like that on there deserve to lose them. Hell, I work in a store, and they even have a SOCIAL NETWORKING POLICY that you sign, saying that you won’t identify and/or discuss them in a negative fashion by name on ANY INTERNET MEDIA as a representative of the company, period. If you get caught saying anything bad about them and you are identified, you’re fired. End of story. And no, it isn’t censorship, its just protecting their good name. I can speak all I like about hating my job(I don’t btw) but if I mention the company by name, and its negative and/or deemed to be harmful, I’m in trouble. Many jobs have this policy now, and rightfully so, especially if it mentions specific people or the company by name.

  • McMike

    Hmmm… How dumb can you be? Let’s see, if I call a supervisor a ‘fag’ am I going to get fired?

  • scott ny'er

    @Riker: what i find interesting is that @hf2hvit: guessed correctly.

    i also wonder, so are you a republican because you’re trying to change things in the republican party or are you a republican because you believe in what the republicans believe in. The way you worded your response was more like, I’m doing the LGBT proud by trying to change the party and make them more accepting. Which is great. But it’s not altogether altruistic, no?

  • Riker

    @scott ny’er: You are partially correct. I don’t agree with the platform of either party 100%, but I do tend to lean more to the right(especially on economics). That said, I disagree strongly enough with the anti-gay stance of certain Republicans, which nudges me to vote Democrat from time to time (for example, the Republican candidate’s strong antigay positions caused me to vote democrat in the last gubernatorial election). However, I do believe in changing my party from the inside, which is why I’m very active in my party at the local and state level, and very open about my sexuality. Most voters and party members don’t have problems with me being who I am, a major change in recent years.I’ve come to the conclusion that I get less backlash telling Republicans that i’m gay, than telling gays that i’m Republican.

  • Shofixti

    Did you see those two mice making out on that man’s face?

  • Jeffree

    @Riker: Now that the Republicans have switched from fiscal conservatism to social conservatism, I’m wondering what role LGB conservatives can play in the party. That’s an honest question.

    If CPAC showed us anything, it’s that the economy and jobs arent ranking high up on the list of priorities for some [many?] conservatives.

    I’ve always thought we need LGB people on *both* sides of the aisle to help us develop allies, but with the TeaPeople calling the shôts, is it possible or realistic to think that socially moderates might some how have any chance to keep their seats?

    I’m prob. going to have my “gay card” pulled for saying this, but I can’t let Dems OR Reps slide when it comes to focusing on JOBS as a top priority.

  • scott ny'er

    @Riker: That’s fair. And that last part is interesting and I can totally see that happening. (In my mind, the gay people feel u are betraying them and the repubs are being outwardly polite but hate you behind you’re back).

  • trevor

    Hey douchebag union spokesperson:
    When you’re done giving away handlebar moustache rides, please explain to me what “first arrenment rights” are and get back to me.

  • Mischa

    Employers should not be monitoring their employees’ Facebook pages. Is the guy a bigot? Yes. But should he be fired for talking crap about his boss outside work? No, he should not be.

    If the man had no disciplinary history and always performed his job well, why fire him?

    If the question is a fear that he might discriminate against someone, then send him to counseling and training.

  • Shannon1981

    @Mischa: What you are saying is fair, and I understand, but until we have equal rights, I feel any gay person who votes with the rethugs is a traitor. That’s just me, doesn’t mean I hate you guys or anything(I will if you start acting like Matt Hissey and Chris Barron tho) but seriously? You really think the econ issues, etc, are more important than gay rights? That kind of disturbs me. Yeah, I feel betrayed, and the gays have every right to backlash rethugs. No offense meant…JMHO.

  • Riker

    @Shannon1981: I would rather have a job and put food on the table for my boyfriend, than starve to death with my husband. I still support marriage equality (and gay adoption, and DADT repeal, and all that) but I recognize that there are more important issues at stake.

    Every pro-gay voice in the Republican Party is another step in the right direction. If we can each convince a few other people that we deserve full equality, that will cause massive changes in the party. Last election, I worked on the campaign of my Congressman’s Republican challenger. Through our regular talks, I was able to give him a different perspective on gay issues and brought him around. Its too bad he didn’t win, else there would have been one more pro-gay Republican in the House.

    Feel betrayed all you like, but we really do have your best interests at heart. We’re just thinking too far ahead for most gays to recognize. They’re focused on immediate reforms, while i’m working to change the culture that led to our persecution.

  • Spike


    We can thank Sarah Palin all these new so called ‘first amendment’ rights as they involve teabagging homophobic christians . . . when in fact there statements and consequences have NOTHING to do with the First Amendment.

  • Shannon1981

    @Riker: Half that party would have us rounded up and put into hospitals and given lobotomies. That’s scary.

    And The Dems won’t let us starve to death either. The Rethugs just want tax breaks for the top 2% anyway, straight, white, male, wasps, to hell with the rest of us. I think Jeffree is right. They really hate you, but that good breeding keeps them from saying how much you disgust them to your face.

  • Shannon1981

    oops getting names wrong all over the place today! I think SCOTT is right about the rethugs hating you behind your back.

  • Cubbz56

    As a older, gay man that knows nothing about what was written by this individual about his job, city, etc., it is not my job to judge what I don’t know. I may not agree with what has ‘supposedly been said’ about the situation, but I cannot judge, and neither should you.

    Also, as gays, many of you complain about not getting all your ‘rights’ etc, and “these new so called ‘first amendment’ rights as they involve teabagging homophobic Christians”.

    Does this then, give you permission to deny this individual his first amendment rights of free expression; whether it be verbal or written? I think not. The U.S. Supreme Court just ruled in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church and their right to spew hatred and vile subject matter in both verbal and written form, as a means of protest. Is this individual not allowed to protest?

    There is no one; none of you, or the town of Bourne, or the Fire Department or anyone else that can say how good or bad that they “THINK” this individual will be capable of be doing his job. ONLY he knows how capable his is of doing that! If he is a true, sworn firefighter, then the views and personal feelings he holds will not interfere with how he performs his job. A firefighter swears an oath, and that oath is not something frivolous. It is taken with great pride and honor, and is not readily disregarded as many of you would have people think.

    After having been in law enforcement for 20+ years myself, I know what it means to work and live by an oath. Believe me, there were many, many things I hated about parts of the job, some of the people I worked with, the political games of the City, certain sections of local citizens, etc. And yes, many times I verbally voice my condemnation. That did not however, stop me from putting forth 100% of my effort to live up to my sworn duty to justly uphold the law and protect and serve each and every citizen of the city that I worked in. Many of them were true scumbags. But when I was dealing with them out there on the street, I treated them a true person, just like you would want to be treated, unless they wanted to turn the situation bad.

    So while we may not like this individual, or the things he may or may not have said/written, he still has the right to do so and should not be penalized by being fired because somebody didn’t like it. It caused no harm to anyone, it was done on his own personal time apparently, and may or may not have any bearing on how he performs the functions of his position.

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