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Army veteran loses job after confrontation with birther boss

An Alabama employee of Hawk Enterprises, a defense contractor, complained to his company after receiving a birther email that he considered racist. According to Kerin Kelly, he was confronted by a vice president of the firm who said that it was patriotic to question Obama’s citizenship. Kelley, who suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome after serving in combat in Iraq, was unable to handle the situation and had to leave the work site. The company took this as a resignation and wouldn’t reinstate him.

The Alabama web site AL.com has an extensive story that I would prefer interested folks read, rather than me characterizing it.

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11 Responses to Army veteran loses job after confrontation with birther boss

  1. avatar
    Thrifty August 31, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    What an awful story. It does sound like a hostile work environment was being fostered, but the guy also resigned, even if he did do it in haste. Does he have any legal options?

    Doesn’t Sikorsky operate facilities in Huntsville? Or is Hawk the facility I’m thinking of?

  2. avatar
    Thrifty August 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    The comments section to that story is full of fail and horribleness.

  3. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    I don’t know. I had a situation myself when an employee claimed she was being harassed by another employee and resigned while we were trying to figure things out. Like Kelly, she was denied unemployment, and like Kelly I think mental illness was a factor. In this case, the harassment appeared to be imaginary.

    Thrifty: What an awful story. It does sound like a hostile work environment was being fostered, but the guy also resigned, even if he did do it in haste. Does he have any legal options?

  4. avatar
    Zixi of Ix August 31, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    The comments are depressing.

    I wish he hadn’t quit.

    It sounds like a hostile work environment.

  5. avatar
    JoZeppy August 31, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    No doubt, Kelly acted in haste, for whatever reasons. And that certainly does complicate things. However, you have to remember, they don’t have to be overly harassing him for it to create a hostile work environment. If they’re sending around birther emails (which it doesn’t take much imagination to see how birthers wander into racism…just read the comments on the article), and he complains…which he clearly did, and they then call him him for counselling rather than telling the birthers to cool it, the company has indeed violated the law.

  6. avatar
    Steve August 31, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    Maybe the Department of Defense should reconsider whether or not it wants to do business with Hawk.

  7. avatar
    J. Potter September 1, 2011 at 4:51 am #

    “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Birther-industrial defense complex.”

    All kidding aside, a terrible story. Was the employer aware of the psychological considerations? Southern states are notorious work environments. To state that birtherism in the workplace is patriotic is amazing. Not much backing on that in the legal system!

  8. avatar
    US Citizen September 1, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    I find it interesting that Hawk (and many commentators) suggest that Kelly is actually the one with racist leanings, yet none dare admit that birtherism began with our first black president.
    Birthers seem to pretend it’s all a coincidence.
    Few people even acknowledge PTSD’s possible role in this story or the fact he was a republican.
    Being black overshadows everything to them.
    It reminds me of how they used to treat Sammy Davis, Jr.
    SIng for us… Dance for us… but please exit through that other door.

  9. avatar
    thisoldhippie September 1, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    From my experience, it only takes one person complaining of a situation that the bosses should then investigate. If these emails offended anyone, they should have been told to stop sending them on company time using company equipment – period.

  10. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    This article is about Mr Kelly. Other comments are being moved to the Open Thread.

  11. avatar
    jayHG September 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Annie: Thrifty,You provided this quote from Wikipedia;“Quote: William Arthur’s frequent moves would later form the basis for accusations that Chester Arthur was not a native-born citizen of the United States. After Arthur was nominated for Vice President in 1880, his political opponents suggested that he might be constitutionally ineligible to hold that office.[8] A New York attorney, Arthur P. Hinman, apparently hired by his opponents, explored rumors of Arthur’s foreign birth.[9] Hinman initially alleged that Arthur was born in Ireland and did not come to the United States until he was fourteen years old, which would make him ineligible for the Vice Presidency under the United States Constitution’s natural-born citizen clause.[9][note 3] When that story did not take root, Hinman spread a new rumor that Arthur was born in Canada, but this claim also failed to gain credence.[9]”I noticed that nothing in this quote is alleging that Hinman knew that Author’s father was not a citizen at the time of his birth. All I see is that hinman had made allegation that Chester was not native-born. Am I missing something here?

    Annie, that’s the point and yes, you’re missing lots. IT DOES NOT AND DIDN’T MATTER WHERE CHESTER ARTHUR’S FATHER WAS BORN. This is why Hinman was trying to prove that Chester Arthur WAS BORN IN EITHER CANADA OR IRELAND……ANYWHERE BUT THE UNITED STATES. This is what would have made Chester Arthur ineligible in his opinion…..ARTHUR’S NOT BEING BORN IN THE UNITED STATES, not where Chester Arthur’s father was born or whether his father was a naturalized citizen (which is all Chester’s father could have been since he (the father) was not born in the United States).

    I put parts in all caps because as a birther, I know your penchant for picking bits and pieces of a post which you think might serve your cause and ignore other parts, and before you ask, your “cause” would be to try to remove President Obama from office by means other than an election.