Hatred Leading to a Firing

This just happened to a friend of mine:

Dr. Frank Turek was fired as a vendor for his political and religious views, even though those views were never mentioned or expressed during his work at Cisco.

[From The Cisco Kid – Mike Adams]

Nothing wrong with his job performance; nothing wrong with anything he said to anyone. It’s just that a homosexual manager found out on the web that Frank believes it’s best to maintain the historic legal definition of marriage.

Cisco claims to be all about “Inclusion and Diversity.” Based on what happened to Frank, at least according to the side we have available to read here in this article, what it’s really about is defining a different group to exclude now than previously. Which is a delicate way of saying it’s hypocritical and blind: blind to the absolute logical impossibility of including all diversity of all kinds, for who would say that diversity should welcome a neo-Nazi alongside a Hasidic Jew? Diversity is a confused goal. In practice it becomes, for it must become, a banner under which (as I have said) a different group is excluded than previously.

So Cisco has decided that it’s wrong to hate diversity in sexual morality. Instead it’s okay to hate diversity in religious conviction. (I’m using “hate” in the idiosyncratic 21st century sense of “disagree with and set boundaries.” It never used to mean that, but it does now.)

Now for those who think that homosexual activism is harmless (“We’re only asking for the right to marry; how can that hurt you?”), I say, think again.

Comments 26
  1. olegt

    If this is a straightforward case of religious discrimination, shouldn’t it be actionable?

  2. doctor(logic)

    olegt,

    Turek isn’t an employee of Cisco. He’s a vendor. He wasn’t fired as an employee, he was fired as a vendor. That’s like you firing your long distance company because they contribute to causes you oppose.

  3. olegt

    I see. I was confused by the word fired. Cisco can pick and choose which vendors they deal with.

  4. SteveK

    Cisco can stop doing business with any vendor if it so chooses. However if I were Frank, I would ask the CEO personally about his words below and ask him how this action by Cisco aligns with the CEO’s standards for the company.

    Cisco CEO: “Our inclusive culture promotes a creative, innovative, and collaborative environment that helps fuel our globalization strategy.”

  5. justaguy

    I cannot vouch for the veracity of this post, but this was included in the comments section of the Town Hall article by Dr. Adams.

    “Dr. Hall,

    I read this column regarding Dr. Turek with great interest and wanted to clarify a couple of points. Following the receipt of Dr. Turek’s complaint, Cisco appointed a high-level Corporate Employee Relations investigator to review the matter. Our investigation found the complaint was based on an unfortunate and isolated instance that was inconsistent with Cisco’s culture and practices. Dr. Turek received an apology, and a personal briefing on the investigation and the company’s findings. We have attempted to address his concerns directly, and have informed him that he is eligible to continue to provide services to Cisco and bid on future work as a vendor.

    Best,

    John Earnhardt
    Cisco
    Corporate Communications”

    This doesn’t vitiate the dynamics that led to the initial complaint and action nor Tom’s post pointing out an example of how he believes the current climate is trending, however.

  6. justaguy

    D(L),

    You’re right – Cisco can choose with which vendors it chooses to work/hire. However, the point is not re: legality of the firing (I’m sure many of us can cite some example of something that may not be “illegal,” yet strains our consciences), but the inconsistency of those who champion “tolerance” while not only withholding it from others, but actively campaigning against those whose views are incongruent with their own.

    And no, it’s not like choosing another long-distance carrier, as you’re an individual whose personal ethics can be capricious without logical/ethical inconsistencies. A publicly held co. as large and visual as Cisco will likely have a greater impact on society as a whole – at the very least to the micro-society of Cisco. So, championing one set of values (whatever those may be) over another set of values will have impact.

    Furthermore, corporate ethics (especially re: discrimination) are generally not compartmentalized into “legal” vs. “illegal,” but expressions of how the co. will operate and how it believes the world should operate. To treat one person providing services to Cisco in a manner different than another providing services to Cisco based on religious/social views is inconsistent with Cisco’s stated values, regardless of whether the person is a “regular” employee, or an ad hoc employee (or “vendor”) such as Turek.

    Again, though, this isn’t the point of the post. (You seem to be relatively bright – so I’m guessing you knew that). I’m curious if you have a comment directly relevant to the position Tom has taken.

  7. Tom Gilson

    I had a long talk with Frank about this today. I believe we can expect to see more information coming forth concerning the company’s response, maybe in a week or so.

  8. BillT

    DL and olget,

    You both seem to think that Cisco’s actions were ok because “Cisco can pick and choose which vendors they deal with.” Would you both have been as supportive if the vedor was gay and Cisco chose not to deal with them on those grounds?

  9. doctor(logic)

    BillT,

    Would you both have been as supportive if the vendor was gay and Cisco chose not to deal with them on those grounds?

    First of all, corporations do as they please. They’re even people now. If you don’t like it, don’t vote Republican.

    Second, Cisco. Hmm. Where might the company have got that name? And that strange logo. What is that? An antenna, maybe?

    Third, you are so quick to portray yourselves as victims. Oh, boo hoo! You think a company is intolerant because they discriminate against intolerant people like Turek who campaigns to strip other people (e.g., Cisco employees) of their rights (prop 8). That’s a rather peculiar view, to say the least.

    Fourth, Turek is supposed to be an inspirational speaker. Da ya think his campaign against gay rights might limit his inspirational impact? I mean, how inspiring would Sam Harris be for you if he came to speak at your company and you knew his views on religion?

  10. olegt

    I think DL is onto something. Cisco hires Turek in the capacity of a motivational speaker. He brings a lot of baggage with him, which offends sensibilities of a nontrivial portion of its customers.

    Of course, by firing him, Cisco offends another segment of its customers. Boy, that’s a tough predicament.

  11. BillT

    DL,

    Wow, all that to avoid answering the question. And do you feel the same even though Cisco has now said their employee acted inappropriately?

  12. doctor(logic)

    BillT,

    I want Cisco to be pro gay rights. It would offend me if they booted a vendor because that vendor was gay. Buy it is my right to be offended, and their right to offend me.

    The way a corporation treats its employees is another matter. It would be wrong for Cisco to fire an employee for his civic or religious beliefs unless they interfered with the job. Interestingly, I believe you can legally be fired for your political beliefs.

    olegt,

    You got it right. Cisco is doing what’s best for Cisco.

  13. Tom Gilson

    doctor(“logic”),

    The way one knows whether a motivational speaker is effective is by whether he is effective.

    Suppose someone came in to do the same at Cisco who was a homosexual activist, though not in the classroom. Suppose some conservative found out on the web that he had this other activity going on. Suppose that conservative said, “I don’t think this person can effectively motivate me any longer.”

    Should Cisco terminate that person’s contract?

    Why do you represent Turek as the aggressor in the legal battle over homosexual “marriage”? Don’t you remember who started the fight?

    As for “quick to represent ourselves as victims,” actually we’re at least 24 years behind. Not only that, but there is something to be said in favor of representing the loss of a contract as the loss of a contract.

  14. justaguy

    d(l),

    I’m curious as to your response to BillT, as the items you’ve listed are off-topic. E.g., the degree to which Turek (or Sam Harris, or you, or BillT) is inspiring is not at issue.

    I will also note that you have not responded to my request for something relevant to the original post (comment 7).

    The case at hand is re: discrimination based on one’s religious beliefs/position on things sexual and holding one set of values as superior to another set – and the apparent inconsistency of doing so in this instance at Cisco, contrary to its stated policies.

    Would you please address this issue instead?

  15. Truth Unites... and Divides

    Too bad this is not an isolated instance.

    Such actions are happening in a number of venues: Corporate America, Hollywood, schools, academia, etc….

    Toe the Politically Correct Party Line or Suffer the Consequences.

  16. olegt

    Tom wrote:

    Suppose someone came in to do the same at Cisco who was a homosexual activist, though not in the classroom. Suppose some conservative found out on the web that he had this other activity going on. Suppose that conservative said, “I don’t think this person can effectively motivate me any longer.”

    Should Cisco terminate that person’s contract?

    That’s up to Cisco to decide. If it does not want to be associated with gay activists, it can terminate his contract. That will satisfy some people and offend others, so it’s a hard decision to make.

  17. justaguy

    Olegt,

    I see nowhere that Turek was hired as a motivational speaker. Perhaps you are correct, but from what I’ve been able to discern from reading the article and from looking at the things for which he is usually hired, I would be surprised if “motivational speaker” was the capacity in which he was “vending.” (His previous work for Cisco was over a year’s time, it seems. That’s a LOT of inspiration/motivation, don’t you think?)

    So, the “motivational speaker” thing is off-topic; it doesn’t address the ethical dynamics and policies at hand.

    Even if his level of inspiration or motivation were the subject at hand, the person who complained about him after the fact apparently rated him as “excellent” or some such high mark for whatever capacity Turek was serving, clearly ruling out the performance construct from the equation.

    So, back to the topic/dynamic at hand…Turek’s religious/social viewpoint, another’s personal problem with it and subsequent complaint, and Cisco’s actions contrary to its written non-discrimination policies.

  18. Truth Unites... and Divides

    Rank the following choices from most desirable to least desirable:

    (A) Christians should refuse to state whether they are for or against same-sex marriage. They should refuse to state whether same-sex behavior is sin.

    (B) It’s better for society to think that there are some Christians who are *FOR* same-sex marriage and that same-sex behavior is not sin according to these Christians and that there are some Christians who are *AGAINST* same-sex marriage and that they think same-sex behavior is a sin according to God’s Word. I.e, it’s good for society to know that there’s a divided split in Christendom about this issue.

    (C) It’s okay for pro-gay-advocates to know that a large majority of Christians oppose gay marriage and that because they have that mindset towards Christians, they will discriminate, deride, and delegitimize Christians anywhere and everywhere. Christians should not whine when they are singled out and persecuted.

    (D) Christians who oppose gay marriage need to participate lovingly and vigorously in the Public Square against gay marriage.

  19. justaguy

    Olegt,

    It seems you are arguing a position that’s self-deterministic (libertarian?) in nature. If so, there are many who would agree with you that legislation (most of it well-intentioned) thwarts one’s ability to be free (even if that “one” is a corporation such as Cisco).

    However, while we could debate the relative merits of that position, it doesn’t really come into play here. Even if one concludes the actions of Cisco aren’t legally “actionable,” Cisco itself has a stated policy of non-discrimination based on religious and sexual beliefs and practices – it has voluntarily established that it will limit its freedom to hire and fire on the basis of (at least these two) categories, so to relieve Turek of his contract would be inconsistent with its policies and unethical. That action violates its policy to not hold any religion or sexual orientation above another.

  20. olegt

    justaguy wrote:

    I see nowhere that Turek was hired as a motivational speaker. Perhaps you are correct, but from what I’ve been able to discern from reading the article and from looking at the things for which he is usually hired, I would be surprised if “motivational speaker” was the capacity in which he was “vending.” (His previous work for Cisco was over a year’s time, it seems. That’s a LOT of inspiration/motivation, don’t you think?)

    So, the “motivational speaker” thing is off-topic; it doesn’t address the ethical dynamics and policies at hand.

    From Adams’ article:

    In 2008, Dr. Turek was hired by Cisco to design and conduct a leadership and teambuilding program for about fifty managers with your Remote Operations Services team. The program took about a year to conduct, during which he also conducted similar sessions for another business unit within Cisco. That training earned such high marks that in 2010 he was asked to design a similar program for about 200 managers within Global Technical Services. Ten separate eight-hour sessions were scheduled.

  21. Tom Gilson

    A team-builder/trainer is not necessarily a motivational speaker. Frank certainly has that capacity, and I suspect that was part of his mode of operation in those settings, but there’s no way he did that eight consecutive hours. Every trainer knows that won’t work, and every company that hires trainers knows it too. Even more so for a team-builder.

  22. justaguy

    Olegt,

    Thanks for your reply and referencing the article, but it doesn’t necessarily follow. See Tom’s response.

    However, even if his role were as you state it could have been – as “motivational speaker” instead of “team/leadership development trainer,” he apparently fulfilled his responsibilities more than sufficiently:

    In fact, the manager [person filing the complaint – my edit] commented that the course was “excellent” as did most who participated.

    So, even if he had been hired to create an origami elephant out of recycled copy paper, his job performance was not ever the concern of the complainant – as noted from the article:

    His complaint regarded Dr. Turek’s political and religious views that were never mentioned during class, but that the manager learned by “googling” Dr. Turek after class.

    So, again, there is no evidence suggesting job performance for whatever role is at issue here. The issue is the motivation for the complaint – Turek’s religious and social/sexual viewpoint – and the complainant’s/Cisco’s actions subjugating one set of values to another set – contrary to Cisco’s stated position re: sexual and religious matters.

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