On Friday a video circulated on social media of a Federal Express Driver stopping protesters from burning a U.S. Flag. The video can be see here https://mobile.twitter.com/sgrubermiller/status/824680301003677696/video/1
As you can see from the link, the altercation got a bit heated. Federal Express has announced that the driver’s employment status will not change as a result of the incident. But could the company have fired the driver for his role in this matter? Absolutely.
The driver is likely an at will employee, which means that either he or the company could terminate employment at any time, with or without cause and with or without prior notice. Furthermore, even if he is not an at will employee his conduct likely violates several rules of conduct or company procedures, since he involved himself in a protest while on the job that did not involve or impact the performance of his duties. My guess is he kept his job because he has a strong performance record with Federal Express and he stopped flag burning which, while legal, is extremely unpopular and controversial. Firing this employee likely would have resulted in a backlash against Federal Express.
The take away for employers is when employees engage in conduct that violates your rules, you can legally terminate their employment, even if the termination is unpopular.