Arizona Daily Star Allowed to Fire Reporter for "Inappropriate" Tweets, Labor Board Finds

Arizona Daily Star Allowed to Fire Reporter for "Inappropriate" Tweets, Labor Board Finds

The First Amendment apparently doesn't extend to Twitter-town -- if you work for the Arizona Daily Star, anyway.

A federal labor board recently found that the Star was well within its rights when it fired a public safety reporter for a series of morbid "tweets" he posted on his Twitter account last year.

The unidentified reporter got canned in September for a series of "tweets" the newspaper found to be "unprofessional and inappropriate."

See a few examples below:

• Aug. 27: "You stay homicidal, Tucson. See Star Net for the bloody deets."

• Aug. 30: "What?!?!? No overnight homicide? WTF? You're slacking Tucson."

• Sept. 10: "Suggestion for new Tucson-area theme song: Droening (sic) pool's 'let the bodies hit the floor'."

• Sept. 10: "I'd root for daily death if it always happened in close proximity to Gus Balon's."

• Sept. 10: "Hope everyone's having a good Homicide Friday, as one Tucson police officer called it."

The National Labor Relations Board reportedly found that firing the reporter did "not violate a provision of the National Labor Relations Act that protects communications by employees as long as they relate to--or seek to involve other employees in a discussion of--working conditions or employment terms."

About 10 months prior to the homicidal "tweets," the reporter also bashed the paper's copy editors by posting some snarky comments about headlines in the paper's sports section. The paper told the reporter that "airing his grievances or commenting about the Daily Star" in any public setting would no longer be permitted. He did it anyway.

The reporter was fired in September, with the paper noting in its termination letter that editors "have no confidence that you can sustain our expectation of professional courtesy and mutual respect."  

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