AP: Wal-Mart Firing Cashier for Insulting Shoppers Is Newsworthy

It's generally bad for business to have a flippant employee who insults your loyal customers. Now if someone could just give that newsflash to the Associated Press.

The AP today picked up on the plight of one David Noordeweir, who was fired in late February from a Michigan Wal-Mart for an entry on his MySpace page that insulted the intelligence of Wal-Mart shoppers. Here's the lede.:

A former Wal-Mart cashier says he was fired for joking on his MySpace page that the average IQ would increase if a bomb were dropped on the company's stores.

Gee, nothing insulting or inflammatory there.

The AP story stocked up reader's shopping cart with Noordeweir's fine whine:

"I told them that this was crazy," Noordewier told The Flint Journal. "It's not like I have a fighter jet in my backyard to drop a bomb with. Then they escorted me out to the parking lot."

Noordewier said store officials had him sign an acknowledgment that he was fired for "gross misconduct integrity issue."

[...]

"If you have a MySpace site, you better act like you're a politician," he said. "Be politically correct and don't try to be funny."

Of course, employees in Michigan can be fired for just about any reason, although companies can adopt policies that offer "just cause" protections as this article by the Lansing State Journal notes:

Justifying a firing can make it harder for an employee to later claim the company illegally discriminated against him or her.

But at-will isn't the absolute law of the land.

Employers may agree to limit their firing rights through labor or employment contracts or in specifically worded company policies.

Employers also can opt to become a "just cause" workplace that requires a justification be given if a worker is fired.

The bottom line, Noordeweir's complain is a dog-bites-man story hardly worthy of AP wire coverage, but perhaps for the media's obsession with badmouthing Wal-Mart and, in this case, a dangers-of-MySpace hook.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters