Sunday, September 24, 2023
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Office Rant Sours Appeals Court on Reinstatement

(CN) - A Florida construction inspector who was the target of another employee's workplace complaints was properly fired for saying to himself about the co-worker, "If he gets me fired, I'll get my gun and blow his guts out," a Florida appeals court ruled.

Raymond M. Williams worked for the Department of Transportation off ice in Palatka, Fla., for five years until he lost his job for violating the department's Violence-Free Workplace Policy.

His outburst occurred soon after the office staff were discussing an upcoming meeting to discuss how one of their co-workers had been fired for personal use of his work computer.

Patrick Feher, another project inspector, told a co-worker that he wanted to tell a supervisor that Williams had apparently used office equipment for personal reasons. He said he had found a hunter education certificate made out to Williams on the office printer.

The co-worker asked Feher why he would report Williams.

"I do not like that big-headed f ker," he said.

After Feher left a message for his supervisor, he told Williams: "You'll be getting a call later."

Feher left, and Williams said, within earshot of other employees, "If he gets me fired, I'll get my gun and blow his guts out."

Williams apologized for the statement, stating that he had "lost [his] cool."

The mea culpa was not enough to keep Williams from losing his job, however. He appealed the decision to fire him, but a hearing officer upheld Williams' termination.

Williams found no success with the justices of the state's Daytona Beach-based fifth district appeals court, which affirmed the hearing officer's decision.

The unsigned opinion notes that the co-workers who overheard the remark may not have felt personally threatened, but Williams had still threatened someone.

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