Greensboro, NC

Greensboro firefighter Dustin Jones terminated after 16 years for a Facebook post

The Planking Traveler
Photo byCity of Greensboro Twitter page

After 16 years of service which included recognition and an award for saving a child's life back in 2011 while he was off duty on vacation, Firefighter Dustin Jones was given a same day termination notice by the City of Greensboro Fire Department referencing a social media post he had made as the reason. His post made on Facebook was a meme celebrating straight pride.

I was able to connect with Dustin to ask a few questions about his termination and he provided some details regarding his path forward. He is currently appealing his termination.

Question: How long until you find out if your appeal is successful? If it isn't, will you pursue legal action against the city?

I had 10 days to appeal. I plan to have the appeal turned in by the end of the week. I believe they have 10 days to respond. If it isn’t successful, yes I plan to pursue legal action

Question: Is same day termination without notice a standard procedure in your line of work, or was this a shock to you?

Same day termination is not standard practice and yes I was surprised. We have a progressive discipline policy but I do not feel it was followed. I was terminated on the spot stating a class 5 offense because my behavior was egregious. They stated it eroded public trust and caused the city harm. No other formal documentation nor disciplinary action had been taken.

A quick glance at Dustin's Facebook page will show you the outpouring of support he is receiving from those on all sides. He has also recorded several live videos on his Facebook page you can reference where he shares about his views and his love for all people; he does not nor did he ever discriminate in his line of work. One example of the support he has received is pictured below.
Photo byDustin Jones - Facebook page

Being fired for something that is protected by our 1st amendment is absolutely unacceptable, no matter where you stand on the issue of gay pride or straight pride. His post was not hate speech and did not attack any race, gender, or individual; he was simply sharing that he was proud to be a straight man. It seems in our current day and age, no matter what opinion you have, there is someone out there that will be offended by it and Dustin's current situation sadly illustrates that free speech appears to be an endangered species in our country at this point, even when it comes to social media. There is a city council meeting today (May 16th) at 4:30 pm where you can come to voice your support for Dustin.

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