Termination Upheld for Officer’s Racist Comment on Social Media

Senior Associate Paul Coble recently prevailed on behalf of a Bay Area police department in the termination of a police officer for placing a racist comment on his social media site.

The officer had received an inquiry from a former colleague about whether he was still with the Department and how he was doing. The officer replied with racists terms describing his current employment situation.  The former colleague was “friended” on the social media pages of several other members of the Department who in turn received the officer’s racist remarks.

The officer tried to have a relative take the blame for the social media posting by allegedly having accessed the site while using the officer’s phone.

However, the arbitrator found this claim, as well as other denials by the officer, to have been knowing untruths, and that the posting itself was constituted unbecoming conduct. The arbitrator also credited the fact that the officer had been previously disciplined for similar comments in the workplace.