With no explanation, the company executives decided to fire the employee and delete all his work so that he could not get another job.
It's natural for people to follow their passion outside of work. They may do it as a hobby or they may as well make some money or fame out of it. Either way, this generally doesn't concern the employers as long as the organization's values and policies are not violated. However, that was not the case for Jad Sleiman who worked as a reporter in NPR's member station WHYY at Philadephia. Sleiman (u/JSLEI1) shared on Reddit about the repercussions he faced for being a stand-up comedian outside of work hours. People rallied around the reporter as he fought back against the unfair allegations made by his employer.
A year ago, Sleiman was fired from his job as a reporter because his employers felt that his stand-up comedy show had inappropriate content. Someone from the leadership team saw his Instagram reels and sacked him from the job stating, "egregious violations of WHYY values," as the reason. "They fired me on the spot with no warning. They called me racist, sexist and every name in the book," he said. The executives not only fired him but also gave him a difficult time by depriving him of the respect he deserved for his service. "They cut off my health insurance the same day despite the fact that I rely on expensive MS drugs to be able to walk and they went so far as to delete every single story I had done over the five years to prevent me getting another job."
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"I never apologized, I fought back," said Sleiman and added, "They tried to deny my unemployment, sending two vice presidents and two lawyers to the hearing, calling my act all kinds of hateful." The reporter mentioned that the employer made every 'hare-brained attempt' in the court to portray him as a racist and an offender. Eventually, fortune favored the stand-up comedian. The judge's ruling said that even though the stand-up jokes breach the employer’s broad rules regarding outside conduct, Sleiman's content on his shows emphasized, " social unfairness and hypocrisy rather than discrimination." The judge added, "They were controversial and contained terms certain persons could find offensive, either due to explicit sexual or racial/ethnic nature used for 'a cheap laugh'."
Stating that Sleiman's stand-up comedy content was "not inconsistent with that of other adult comedians and would not be unfamiliar to the mildly sophisticated listener," the judgment condemned the reporter's ousting. Further arbitration hearings required Sleiman to keep fighting for the company's injustice towards him and the executives tried their best to prove him as a violator. "They probably spent a good quarter million on lawyers alone," said Sleiman. Recently, the court's final decision was released and Sleiman was to be "reinstated with full back pay and benefits." The stand-up comedian pointed out that a judge went through his jokes thoroughly and even picked the funniest ones.
The reporter concluded his post saying, "No one can put hate in your heart. Creative expression is a right in a free society. Your employer doesn't own you." Hundreds of users were thrilled about the stand-up comedian's remarkable win. "Ride this publicity and bring the HEAT next time you’re on stage!" wrote u/Summers_Alt. "I'm glad it all worked out. So many businesses are trigger-happy to fire somebody over things like social media outside of work. It's why I stay off of those websites. Working primarily in a news organization makes that more complicated, but I'm happy things were made right and you are whole once again," commented u/Dannysmartful. "This isn't even that bad, especially as far as some standup goes. Glad you won!" wrote u/icarusrising9.