The public sector is using its broadly written contracts of employment to sack people who say things that are deemed unacceptable.
NHS administrator Abdurrahman Siddique said HIV is a form of divine punishment for adultery and suggested British aid worker Alan Henning deserved to die at the hands of Isis terrorists because he was a “kafir” or non-believer.
In one post he is said to have claimed Isis were doing a “fine job” as the full extent of the Islamists’ brutality was emerging in July last year.
He was sacked from Hammersmith Hospital last week after his extremist rants were brought to the attention of NHS bosses.
Now Abdurrahman seems to hold some quite disturbing views. But they are just that - views. No suggestion is being made that these statements or opinions affected his work or the reputation of the hospital.
And this case isn't a one-off either:
A town hall worker has been suspended after posting an Islamophobic comment on Facebook.
Dave Balderstone, 46, replied to a British National Party post with the message: ‘Kick Islam out of Britain - we need our country back.’
Manchester council bosses took action last week after a member of the public contacted the M.E.N. in disgust.
Mr Balderstone, of Manley Road, Chorlton, has now been suspended from his position as an IT support technician while the post is investigated.
Different set of unsavoury views, same response from the public agency. Same approach - complaint from a 'member of the public' or because is was 'brought to the attention of' bosses. What we're seeing here (apart from a glimpse of the wide range of opinions out there) is that complaints about material posted outside work in a non-work related environment are used to conduct vendetta. Maybe it was a random member of the public who happened to see Dave Balderstone's Facebook page and happened to know he worked for the Council - I suspect not. And - however barking Abdurrahman Siddique's opinions might be - I'm pretty sure he's spot on when he says:
“It's very clear to me that this was a personal vendetta against me by someone who knew me and was determined to get me the sack.”
We really need to stop sacking people for saying stuff when it really has no impact on the business - the hospital admin worker can go on moving paper across his desk and the IT technician can carry on trying to fix Manchester City Council's rickety computers regardless of their dubious opinions.