Toronto firefighters fired over sexist tweets

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Toronto firefighters fired over sexist tweets



[url= Toronto firefighters terminated over ‘unacceptable’ sexist tweets, third reportedly fired over Facebook post[/url]



I think this was a gross over-reaction, certainly in at least two of the cases.

One person is now unemployed because he tweeted some stupid quotes from The Office and South Park. Another was fired because his Facebook page had a picture of him in "black face" at a Halloween party years ago and before he joined the fire department.

Was this in poor taste? Absolutely. Displaying a lack of maturity and judgment? Indeed. Sufficient cause for being fired? I don't think so.

I'd like to know if their social media behaviour was ever addressed with them before being fired and if they were given the opportunity to correct their behaviour before simply being dismissed. Were they given warnings and a chance to explain themselves, apologize or what have you?

I also think it's a scary world when stupid stuff you do on social media can end up costing you your career, especially if there's no suggestion that it ever affected your ability to do your job.

I imagine that the pool of people capable of and willing to run into burning buildings and carry people out to safety is a relatively small one and not the kind of people we want to lose because they acted stupidly on social media (in one case, before even being employed by the city), which is something I'm sure most people have done.


The investigation, Mr. Powell said, “uncovered several breaches of the city’s policy on the use of social media. We found a pattern that clearly violated those policies.

“The City of Toronto nor Toronto Fire Services can condone such behaviour and hence the action to terminate the firefighters,” he added, reading from a statement.

“Members of the Toronto Fire Service are in a position of public trust. This trust is paramount to the division’s ability to carry out its work and deliver critical services to all Toronto residents. The city is committed to ensuring a harmonious, equitable environment that is free from discrimination or harassment in the workplace and in the broader community.”

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Just 5.2% of Toronto Fire employees are women; visible minorities make up 4.2% of fire service employees. Most women at Toronto Fire work in fire prevention or communications, answering 9-1-1 calls, rather than on fire trucks. Of 2,742 Toronto firefighters on fire trucks, 67 are women.

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They have an active anti-harassment program. Employees are trained on what constitutes a hostile work environment for women and minorities. That those comments were quotes from a television show doesn't diminish their offensiveness and those men knew it.  Notice there have been no objections from their Union.

Firefighters deserve respect but that does not give them license to create a hostile work environment for women or minorities. They are not automatically heroes because they put a fireman's hat on. I am sure the fire department has lots of applicants given the low representation of women and minorities.