Walmart Worker Fired For Posting Joke On MySpace

Watch out, kids. Don’t try to be funny on the internet or you’ll be fired by Walmart.

David is Consumerist reader who works at Walmart. He was recently fired for posting a joke that mentioned Walmart on his MySpace. The comment:

The exact quote said “Drop a bomb on all the Walmarts, trailer parks, ghettos, monster truck shows, and retarded fake “pro wrestling” events, and the average I.Q. score would probably double.” This was a silly statement, but in no way was a threat as Walmart said and used as reason for my termination and denying my unemployment benefits. On my “Exit Interview” they checked Gross Misconduct – Integrity Issue (which they describe as: Theft, Violent Act, Dishonesty, or Misappropriation of Company Assets) as the reason I was fired. They wrote on the exit interview that it was a threat posted on website; which it clearly is not.

The Flint Journal (David’s local paper) has written up his story, but he also wrote us a letter. David seems like a nice guy, and is clearly dedicated to customer service. He’s received a personal thank you letter from the President of Walmart after a customer wrote Walmart to compliment them on David’s “service with a smile.”

Read David’s email inside.

To whom it may concern:

I was fired from Walmart on Feb. 27th 2007 for posting a joke on my myspace page that someone had copied, printed, and brought to managements attention. The exact quote said “Drop a bomb on all the Walmarts, trailer parks, ghettos, monster truck shows, and retarded fake “pro wrestling” events, and the average I.Q. score would probably double.” This was a silly statement, but in no way was a threat as Walmart said and used as reason for my termination and denying my unemployment benefits. On my “Exit Interview” they checked Gross Misconduct – Integrity Issue (which they describe as: Theft, Violent Act, Dishonesty, or Misappropriation of Company Assets) as the reason I was fired. They wrote on the exit interview that it was a threat posted on website; which it clearly is not. I have an exemplary customer service record and near perfect attendance. I even got a personal Thank You from the company President for a letter he received from a customer who was really impressed with the “service with a smile” attitude I brought to work consistently. During the termination Dean Genore the store manager who fired me even said that he knows me and that he knows I’m not that type of person, but since someone brought it to the walmart legal departments attention and they said: with the climate since the Columbine incident and the others that followed, that they had to fire me.

They denied my unemployment, so first I had to fill out a fact finding form and send that in to the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). Then I received a notice of determination from them saying I was disqualified for benefits under MES ACT, SEC. 29(1)(B). It reads :

“You were discharged from Walmart associates inc. on 2/27/07 for integrity issues. You had a posting on your personal website stating to “Bomb all the Walmarts” to increase the average IQ scores. Your conduct was not in the best interest of your employer.

It is found that you were fired for a deliberate disregard of your employers interest. You are disqualified for benefits under MES ACT, SEC. 29(1)(B).”

Then I had to request a redetermination,which required me to write a letter of protest clearly stating the reason I disagree with the determination. The following is that letter:

    To whom it may concern:

    I disagree with the determination and would like to request a redetermination. The reason I disagree is that the wording in the notice of determination was taken out of context. This is the exact sentence in the notice of determination I received: “You had a posting on your personal website stating to “Bomb all the Walmarts” to increase the average I.Q. scores.” The exact wording of the sentence posted on my myspace site is “Drop a bomb on all the Walmarts, trailer parks, ghettos, Monster truck shows, and retarded fake “pro wrestling” events, and the average I.Q. score would probably double.” It doesn’t state to do these things, it’s a joke saying if all those places suddenly didn’t exist the average I.Q. would probably double. I even sent a copy of the web page my employer printed up as the reason for my termination, so I don’t understand why the wording was taken out of context and made to appear as something other than a joke statement. I didn’t bring it in to work or even talk about it there, I believe a coworker that didn’t like me printed it up and brought it to managements attention to cause me hardship at work. This was not a deliberate disregard of my employers’ interest.

    Sincerely,

    David Michael Noordewier

If you have any advice, or can put me in touch with an interested lawyer, and/or help get this story “out there” to shame Walmart into doing the right thing; it would be sooo greatly appreciated.

Thank You so very much in advance.

Sincerely,

David Noordewier

This is really sad. We know a lot of Consumerist readers work at places like Walmart, and it’s sad to see one of them lose their job over something so silly! Does anyone have any advice for David?—MEGHANN MARCO

Joke on MySpace costs Wal-Mart worker his job [Flint Journal]
(Photo: crawfishpie)