Former Greensboro Fire Captain Dustin Jones appealed his termination to City Manager Tai Jaiyoba and his appeal was denied.
The denial of Jones’ appeal by Jaiyeoba is a good indication of why the state House voted to establish a Civil Service Review Board for Greensboro to give employees another option to appeal employment actions such as termination.
The letter from Jaiyeoba upholding the termination of Jones is what you would expect. Jones was fired because he continued to exercise his right to express conservative political views on his personal Facebook page, even after being told to stop expressing those views by his superiors.
According to the letter, the termination was based on social media posts made by Jones. Only one of those had to do with work and, that was posting photos Jones took of a “structure fire” and posted to his “social media platform” in 2021.
According to the letter, Jones was warned and went through counseling about his Facebook posts but continued to express his opinions on his Facebook page, even though those opinions were not in line with the political views of city leadership.
American citizens do not give up their right to freedom of expression when they accept employment with the City of Greensboro.
The First Amendment recognizes that people have the right to express their views even if they are outside the mainstream or, in this case, contrary to those of the city administration.
One of the issues that Jaiyeoba uses to validate the firing of Jones is that Jones posted memes on his personal Facebook page that indicated he did not believe that someone born male could become a female.
This is in keeping with the beliefs expressed by the North Carolina Republican state House members in voting for House Bill 574, “The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” and in direct opposition to the views expressed by the Democratic House members voting against the bill.
The NC House passed HB 574 with all 73 Republicans House members voting in favor and 39 of 40 Democrats voting against. One Democrat voted with the Republican majority.
The bill states that in middle school, high school and community college, only females may participate on women’s or girls’ teams. The bill states, “For the purposes of this sub-subdivision, a student’s sex shall be recognized based solely on the student’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
In other words, someone who was born male cannot become a woman and participate in women’s sports regardless of surgery or hormone treatment.
If in fact, a male can become a female then it stands to reason that they should be able to participate on women’s and girls’ teams.
This is a hot political issue that is being debated all over the country. States with Republican legislatures are passing bills similar to HB 574. Recently, Texas became the 19th state to ban gender affirming medication and surgery for those under 18. States with Democratic legislatures are establishing laws that allow biological males to participate in women’s or girls’ sports if they identify as women.
It is a hotly contested political issue with votes usually following closely along party lines.
The vote in the NC state House is indicative of just how widely separated the two major parties in this country are on the issue.
Eight of the nine members of the Greensboro City Council are Democrats. Mayor Nancy Vaughan is the former executive director of the Guilford Green Foundation, which according to its website is an organization to “advance LGBTQ persons and issues.”
According to Jaiyeoba, Jones was counseled on keeping his views on this hotly contested political issue that run counter to the views of the leadership of the City of Greensboro to himself. According to the city manager’s letter, Jones refused to do so and therefore his termination was justified.