As part of their
support sucking up to Big Bidness, the Republicans have long been an advocate for what is disingenuously called "employment at will." What that policy boils down to is that your employer can hire you when it damn well feels like it, and can fire you on exactly the same terms. For any reason, or for no reason at all.
According to this story in today's Chicago Tribune, it seems there's at least one local Republican who doesn't think that's fair. Meet J. Matt "Bam Bam" Barber, a self-described born-again Christian from Villa Park. Last December, he wrote up a screed "denouncing same-sex marriage and the 'destructive nature ... of the homosexual lifestyle.'"
Barber posted the compilation of the usual wingnut talking points on a conservative website. Some time later, his supervisors at Allstate called him on the carpet about it, suspended him without pay, escorted him off the corporate premises in suburban Northbrook, and fired him three days later. In fairness to Barber, he did not mention his affiliation with Allstate in the, um, "article," and claims that he did not use either company time or resources to compose it or post it. That gets him no sympathy from his former employers, however.
So now Barber has gone and lawyered up. His lawyer works for the same firm of scum-sucking bottom-feeders who represented Terri Schiavo's parents, so you can guess what kind of legal nonsense is going to come out in this lawsuit. Barber has alleged in federal court papers that Allstate's termination of his employment represents...wait for it...anti-Christian discrimination. Since Barber's law degree comes from Pat Robertson's diploma mill, I'm sure that seemed like a plausible cause of action to him.
As for me, I think it's a crock of shit and a colossal waste of a federal court's time and a lot of taxpayer money that could be better used prosecuting people who have committed real crimes. (Like, for example, lying our way into a war, or losing $9 billion of taxpayers' money.) It appears that the reality-based legal community agrees with me:
The strategy behind Barber's lawsuit is an unusual one, said Matthew Finkin, law professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Contrary to popular belief, private companies in Illinois and in virtually every other state can fire workers for saying things that embarrass the company--a fact many bloggers have learned the hard way, he said.
Barber's theory is that his views on same-sex marriage constitute religious expression and thus are protected under federal civil rights laws.
The suit is phrased accordingly, saying Barber "felt led of God to write and submit [the article] for online publication."
Finkin said Barber's argument may be hampered by the fact that he does not quote Scripture to support his argument and instead roots his positions in statements about biology and traditional values. "Political polemics are not protected in Illinois," Finkin said.
So if I feel "led of God" to come to work bare-assed naked and insist all my coworkers have sex with me, and I get fired, can I claim religious discrimination for that, too? Puh-leeze.