Woman fired for flipping off the president

Upon further review, perhaps it wasn’t in Juli Briskman’s best interest to exercise her freedom of expression when on a recent bike ride that occurred when the president’s motorcade passed.

She also made the mistake of telling her HR department at work that the image was “blowing up” on social media.

She’s been fired from her job with a government contractor, Huffington Post reports today.

“They said, ‘We’re separating from you,‘” said Briskman. “Basically, you cannot have ‘lewd’ or ‘obscene’ things in your social media. So they were calling flipping him off ‘obscene.’”

“I wasn’t even at work when I did that,” Briskman told the Washington Post. “But they told me I violated the code of conduct policy.”

She had posted the image on a social media account without identifying that the woman in the photo was her. She was wearing nothing that linked her to the company, Akima.

She also points out that earlier this year, a company officer responded to Black Lives Matter by posting “You’re a f****ing Libtard a**hole.”

He’s still on the job.

“In some ways, I’m doing better than ever,” she tells HuffPo. “I’m angry about where our country is right now. I am appalled. This was an opportunity for me to say something.”

  • Rob

    A classic example of the maxim that no good deed goes unpublished.

  • Paul Weimer

    The legal question is–how much can an entity you work for punish you for exercising in speech it doesn’t like, when you aren’t on company time?

    The hypocrisy of the exec who used obscene language to BLM sort of makes it seem this is “fired for language we don’t like”.

    If she had flipped off Hillary Clinton, would she have been fired?

    • As much as they want, basically. And the social media policy is a “catch all”.

      • jon

        I don’t ever mention the name of the company I work for on social media, or even here where most people can only trace my name back to “jon”

        Mentioning the name of the company puts to much at risk for anything else I’ve ever said, thing that would be difficult for me to find and clean from the internet, but easy for some one to stumble across, and associate with one post where I do say where I work…

        And I’m not alone in this, increasingly people I talk to do the same.

        I extend it into meatspace too… only wear corporate branded apparel at work… which is a shame I’ve got some nice shirts and windbreakers that I can’t wear anywhere else because of a logo stitched into them.

        • tpkyteroo

          I find the real problem is that the courts have actually supported denying Freedom of Speech, but instead supported the firing of employees. Yes, the details does matter. However, no wheres in the constitution did I find “freedom of speech except when employer disagrees vehemently with the employee”.

          • jon

            You must be new here. Welcome to newscut.

            “Congress shall make no law […] abridging the freedom of speech…”

            It makes no mention of restricting an employer’s ability to fire you for any damn reason they see fit. Hence bob’s statement above, “As much as they want, basically.”

            Nor is there any part of the constitution that provides you have a right to a job.

            It says the GOVERNMENT can’t through any law, restrict your freedom of speech. the courts have expanded that a bit not allowing policies and other non-law regulations to restrict freedom of speech, but it still only applies to the GOVERNMENT.

            So the reason you didn’t find “freedom of speech except when employer disagrees vehemently with the employee”. is because you won’t find “freedom of speech” in the constitution as applied to anyone other than congress abridging it… or the bill of rights, only “Congress shall make no law…”
            Which is entirely different from the classical interpretation of people who like the idea of saying whatever they want without consequence from any one… only no consequences from the government (And even then the courts have ruled that there are limitations, like inciting violence, or a panic being not free speech.)

          • Kellpa07

            I remember when Bob posted about this when the Google engineer wrote his infamous memo. Bob kindly reminded us all that you don’t have a private right of speech vis a vis your employer. Of course he then went on to say that the Google engineer’s lawsuit asserted otherwise, while the lawsuit itself asserted nothing of the kind, making his entire post meaningless. Perfect case of confirmation bias!

          • // Of course he then went on to say that the Google engineer’s lawsuit asserted otherwise, while the lawsuit itself asserted nothing of the kind,

            No lawsuit has yet been filed in the Damore case and I made no assertion that a lawsuit said otherwise because I never mentioned the existence of a lawsuit.

          • Kellpa07

            You did not mention a lawsuit, that much is true, I apologize for my faulty memory. I should have referenced his NLRB action, which is not a lawsuit. That, doesn’t change the essential fact that you projected beliefs onto Damore that had no support.

            However, you did assert, with no evidence whatsoever that “The Google engineer who thought the rest of his company should know that women are biologically inferior as members of the tech industry has been fired and believes his constitutional rights have been denied.”

            You also claimed “It should go without saying that there’s no constitutional right in your private company to accommodate your misogyny, though it can hardly be surprising that James Damore believes he’s got one.”
            You also described him as “the latest example” of “[people who don’t read the Constitution] claiming constitutional protections that don’t exist.”

            As pointed out in the comments, he did not make that claim. He filed an NLRB action asserting various violations (mostly CA labor law), but not First Amendment violations.
            So while it is true you did not mention a lawsuit, you did assert that he believes he has Constitutional rights he never claimed. Nothing in the articles to which you linked in that post provided any evidence for that claim, and I wondered in the comments where you got that idea.

          • I’ve reopened that thread if you wish to post there so this one isn’t hijacked.

    • Rob

      From the sounds of this particular employer, I’m guessing the answer to your question about being fired is “no.”

    • RBHolb

      “The legal question is–how much can an entity you work for punish you for exercising in speech it doesn’t like, when you aren’t on company time?”

      It depends on the state. Some states have laws prohibiting employees from being fired for legal off-duty activities that don’t conflict with the employer’s interests. A few more states protect employees from being fired for their political activities.

      These states are the minority, though.

  • Angry Jonny

    Woman Fired For Flipping Off The “president”

    Fixed it for you.

  • >>She also points out that earlier this year, a company officer responded to Black Lives Matter by posting “You’re a f****ing Libtard a**hole.”<<

    She might want to call Saul on this one…

    • tpkyteroo

      I hope she does sue the company and win, based on the fact that they did not fire him. They should have, if they wanted to be fair about it.

  • Jay T. Berken

    It would be interesting to know what would have happened if Juli was a man.

    • KariBemidji

      The man got to keep his job.

  • Mike Worcester

    Here’s another “What If”:
    What if she had forever remained anonymous? That nobody knew who she was other than “that woman who flipped off the presidential motorcade”?

    Was her owning up to the deed a smart move? In hindsight, obviously not. And I’ll guess that she has little recourse to challenge the sacking.

    • Her state is an “at will” employment state, also.

      I think the lesson is “don’t tell HR anything unless they ask.”

      Its primary job is to protect the company.

      • tpkyteroo

        I learned long ago, never to tell HR anything as they are very quick to try and get rid of anyone who doesn’t “tow the line exactly and precisely how they think that line should be towed”. I almost got the opportunity to sue a company I worked for under racial discrimination. Orthodox Jew allowed to have day off for religious ceremony, but Messianic Jew almost was not let off. I argued my case and won, but the Jew I spoke to, was not very welcoming and was very much against me having any privileged becuase “I was a messianic” and there for not a “true jew”.

        My accent is 100% authentic German Jew accent according to a German who spoke broken English and was on Holiday here. He said my accent wasn’t “just German” but specifically “Jewish from Germany”. He even knew which region my heritage came from too! I was impressed. My relatives still don’t believe we are “Jewish”. They don’t understand the Jewish culture of “say Jesus or Y’shua” and you are not a Jew anymore. You are banned from everythign Jewish and your race goes away too, as Jew is a religion. It is also a race that I am apart of.

      • empeejay

        I heard that. On lodging a complaint about a boss, HR said to me, “nothing said here leaves this room”. Six weeks later I was leaving the building for good.

      • Ron Heard

        In my long corporate history, I quickly learned that the Human Resources Department was always, and I mean always, the Inhuman Resources Department. Their job is to protect the company. Not the employee.

  • BReynolds33

    Worth it.

  • Jeff

    On the other hand, if I recall there have been people fired for making racist comments on Facebook who were outed. Just wondering, is this freedom of speech or a false equivalence?

    • tpkyteroo

      It is freedom of speech of sorts, but because it was against the president and she was under contract to the government in a manner of speaking, the rules change. OTOH, the male racist twat who got away with it and was not fired, should have been fired OR she should have been not fired. The problem however, is that there is a risk she might do more than simply “flick the finger” and being that she worked in such close proximity to the president, I can understand why she was fired, because with all the idiots doing real violence, we have become somewhat panicy that a “flick of finger” might lead to more than “just a flick”. I can see this from so many angles. lol

  • southp4w

    Appalled lol. They always are…

  • L. Foonimin
  • DavidG

    Two questions come to my mind: If she worked directly for the
    government, she would have much more protection. How much of those rules
    should apply to someone who works for the government via a contractor?

    Second: Does she have any kind of case for disparate treatment, selective enforcement, whatever you want to call it, due to the fact that the company officer appears to have suffered no consequence for violating the same policy.

    • Kassie

      Without a union, I would assume she could of been fired by a government agency also, particularly if she worked for a Federal agency. Here’s a good rundown of free speech issues for government employees: http://www.newseuminstitute.org/first-amendment-center/topics/freedom-of-speech-2/free-speech-and-government-employees-overview/

    • tpkyteroo

      She should have a discrimination case. The rebuttal would be, but we are under contract for the very head boss, she flicked off. And, Black Lives Matters, wasn’t a direct nor indirect employer of us. OTOH, I hope she does sue and win! We need a reversal of “Freedom of Speech” does not apply when Employers are offended by what Employees say. (And yes, I’d apply this to even speech I do not agree with, and would rather not see publically with only 1 exception. Any speech that is very likely to cause terrorism, or immediately violence, I would still ban for a “greater good” of the country at large. I don’t see how “flicking a president” would cause violence.

  • Ana Mari

    Good that is what she gets. Tired of ignorant disrespectful people. He is our president like it or not.

    • Rob

      Are you being ironic intentionally or by accident?

    • Bridget L.

      Just because he’s the president doesn’t mean people aren’t allowed to be disrespectful, example being every president before him.

    • RBHolb

      “Tired of ignorant disrespectful people. He is our president like it or not.” Yes, Republicans said that a lot between 2009 and 2016.

    • empeejay

      The admitted kitty-grabber-in-chief doesn’t deserve any respect whatsoever. None. Juli Briskman, the flipper offer, should get many job offers, or take this thing to the highest court. Spunky lady made my day. She expressed the feelings of millions of us.

    • rallysocks

      What would you expect when the person holding the highest office in the land is himself woefully ignorant and disrepectful?

  • NathanT

    “Briskman, who worked in marketing and communications at Akima for just over six months…”

    And obviously Briskman was better at her job than anyone left at Akima. Before firing her no one had heard of Akima let alone tied them to support of Donald Trump. Now, not so much.

  • ForrestalMN

    Ride on, Juli Briskman. In that one moment you spoke for many! I like to think, if given the chance, she’d do it again.

    • tpkyteroo

      BTW “trump” in British English, means “fart”. ROFL

      • Rob

        That does explain a lot…

  • Ralph

    The best part? Donald J. Trump is still her president. LOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLL!!!!!!

  • AL287

    Before we had Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a host of other “in your face” social platforms and cell phones with cameras, no one would have known about her little “salute” to the president, who in my opinion fits the profile.

    Privacy of any kind is far behind us in the rear view mirror. Everyone’s life is an open book including credit scores, dating sites and private financial databases ; ).

    We might like all this “convenience” but it has a nasty way of coming back and biting you in the butt when you least expect it.

    Sadly, honesty is no longer the best policy.