Posted Jan 26, 2011 01:39 am CST
John Stone says it didn’t occur to him that wearing a Green Bay Packers tie to work on Monday could get him fired.
The 34-year-old Chicago car salesman wore it in honor of his grandmother, who reportedly died this month and was also a fan of the Wisconsin football team. But after the Bears’ hometown defeat by the Packers on Sunday in the NFC championship game, there was zero tolerance for the tie at the suburban dealership for which Stone worked, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Told to take off the tie, Stone refused and was fired. The general manager at the dealership confirms this and says it spent a lot of money promoting its connection with the Chicago Bears.
But Stone wasn’t without employment prospects for long—another suburban Chicago dealership offered him a job yesterday as he was being interviewed by a local broadcaster.
Chevrolet of Homewood general manager Guy Cesario says he sympathized with Stone because he himself was a Chicago Cubs fan as he grew up amidst White Sox fans on the city’s South Side, the newspaper recounts. He also notes that a good salesman is hard to find and says he has already heard from a number of Wisconsin residents who are interested in buying a car from Stone.
Assuming Stone didn’t have a contract, he could be fired at will, says attorney Michael Helfand on his Chicago Real Law Blog. Although it would have been illegal to fire him based on, say, his race or religion, firing him because of what he wore or because he is a Packers fan is not illegal.
As far as his own office is concerned, Helfand notes, he is now giving current and future workers fair warning: “If you work for me and are reading this blog, if you come in to the office this summer in a Cardinals jersey, consider that your last day.”