On his Facebook page this Tuesday, Murfreesboro firefighter Joe Pennington wrote that President Joe Biden is "racist" against white people. He then referenced the recent shootings in Boulder, Colorado, and Atlanta, Georgia.
"If a white American kills anyone of another color it's racist. But the (expletive) Muslim who killed a police officer and 9 others 'we must ban guns'. We lowered the flags for a few Asian prostitutes who was shot by a white male but hell no on the police officer and the others from yesterday," he wrote in the now-deleted post.
Fox17 reports that he is now on paid administrative leave. He also deleted his Facebook page once Fox17 got wind of his post.
Pennington later reactivated his Facebook page and claimed he was hacked. But according to Fox17, he had made at least one other racially insensitive post earlier in the week.
Responding to comments saying Pennington was just exercising his right to free speech and should not have been placed on leave, HR and diversity expert Christy Pruitt-Haynes said that while he "may not have been at work, there is still very much the reality that people always associate you with your employer, particularly when you work for a government entity that is tasked with serving the community."
"An employer has to not only be responsible to the individuals they are tasked with serving, in this case the community of Murfreesboro but also with protecting the organization to make sure that they are no longer associated with anyone who poses a potential risk," said Pruitt-Haynes. "Which again, opens that employer up to anyone can come back and say, this person treated me differently and here is proof that you should have known this was a possibility."