In the comic, Dilbert asks, “Why does it seem as if most of the decisions in my workplace are made by drunken lemurs?”
“I wanted to try to boost the morale for the employees,” Steward said.
His bosses, however, didn’t find the joke so funny. They didn’t like the implication that they were the drunken lemurs in this scenario.
Using surveillance video, his bosses identified Steward as the comic culprit and fired him.
I’m posting this as another example in a long line of posts that I hope will encourage my students to be careful about what they write about on their blogs and personal profile pages.
I don’t think that publishing a cartoon is a terminal offense. I don’t want to fail a student for showing passion or voicing an opinion, since I’m trained to see even a negative outburst as a “teachable moment” that can benefit the whole class (and my own superiors feel I am doing my job when I try to salvage a difficult situation with a frustrated student, rather than isolating and ejecting every student who causes friction). I don’t know anything else about Steward’s situation. Perhaps this comic was just one volley in an ongoing toxic battle that was affecting productivity. But, more likely, his action angered powerful people who aren’t used to being challenged.
But regardless of what I personally think, the truth is that employers have the legal right to hold you to whatever contract you signed when they hired you.