An United Airlines pilot and Republican lawmaker from West Virginia who posted controversial and rather inflammatory statements against Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton was suspended after the fact.
After individual people complained United announced in social media that the pilot has been taken off schedule pending an investigation following his tweet that Clinton should be be “hung on the mall in Washington, D.C.”.
It’s mind boggling how responsible adults in qualified positions still make grotesque statements publicly without contemplating any potential consequences.
CNN reported the details today (see here).
A West Virginia lawmaker said Saturday he regrets tweeting that Hillary Clinton should be “hung on the mall in Washington, D.C.,” as punishment for her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
But Michael Folk, a member of West Virginia’s House of Delegates, said he still believes Clinton should be tried for treason after an FBI investigation determined she handled classified information on the server. The FBI recommended earlier this month that charges not be brought against Clinton or her staffers.”
I do think she should be tried and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Folk told CNN Saturday. But as for being hanged, he said, “No, my gosh. That was the hyperbole in the statement.”
On Friday, Folk had tweeted, “@HillaryClinton You should be tried for treason, murder, and crimes against the US Constitution… then hung on the Mall in Washington, DC.”
Folk, a commercial pilot, is employed by United Airlines, and the company tweeted on its official account that it was “investigating” the remark.
One of many complaint Tweets looked like this:
A short while after United announced on Facebook that the pilot / politician has been taken off schedule pending a full investigation of the matter.
Essentially this means he is on paid administrative leave until this ‘investigation’ is over and United makes a decision. Since the pilot will be represented by his union which is usually very protective of their members and holds a good amount of power I can’t see too many things happening here in terms of consequences other than maybe a write up or an unpaid leave period. That being said I’m surprised that someone is able to combine two jobs as a lawmaker and a commercial pilot as both are usually pretty demanding professions. I’m not sure if United limits their employees and pilots specifically about the types of a second employment.
I see a conflict of interest here in two ways. For one, being a commercial pilot requires rest periods and it doesn’t appear that someone is really able to relax and show up rested for a flight if he follows any second job on his off duty days. In particular one where you get worked up in politics and legislation. The second issue is that if United allows employees to hold elected offices on the side this usually involves making political and personal statements that might not be favorable to and reflective of the company they work for. To avoid this, companies would have to restrict their employees from political activity which isn’t really a possibility. In the meanwhile plenty of people call for Folk’s head on a platter.
The political climate in the U.S. has become so toxic so it swaps increasingly into totally unrelated areas and even a case like this where a pilot drags his employer into a mess because he can’t separate one job from the other and act like a responsible adult. This forces more and more companies to establish social media policies that restrict employees from engaging in online behavior that shines an unfavorable light on their employer. Especially if their profile identifies them as an employee of said company.