The owner’s son was fired for peeing on a child’s cancer memorial. Lessons on accountability and off-duty conduct.

The owner of a plumbing company fired his son who is accused of urinating on a memorial dedicated to a boy who died from cancer in 2012.

That’s according to multiple news reports, including this report from Colt Shaw of the Press of Atlantic City

Apparently, a friend recorded the son urinating and posted it to Snapchat. The video shows the son placing a beer can on the ground before relieving himself on the memorial. Mr. Shaw also reports that the son was wearing a company T-shirt on camera, with the logo and name of his father’s company visible.

According to Matt Gray reporting here at NJ.com, after the video was posted to Snapchat, some viewers alerted the family of the young boy whose memorial was desecrated. Mr.  Shaw also reported that the father of the man who urinated on the memorial learned about the incident after receiving several Facebook messages.

“I had to remove him from employment,” the father told the Press of Atlantic City. “We apologized to the family… I’m sorry for his actions. I’m not proud of him.”

NBC 10 ran a short segment on the incident on the Sunday news, including how the community responded. You can view it here.

I have three takeaways for employers:

  1. Accountability. It doesn’t matter who the person is, what title that individual holds, or how successful he or she may be. Whether someone works in the C-Suite or cleans the C-Suite, if an employee engages in discriminatory, harassing, or other offensive behavior, the company needs to hold that individual accountable. That’s how a company fosters a culture where that type of behavior is not tolerated.
  2. Employees can be fired for off-duty conduct. Even the boss’s son. That’s what can happen when you get filmed on Snapchat peeing on a child’s cancer memorial while wearing a company t-shirt. Even in states with off-duty conduct laws, they do not protect against termination of employment for illegal behavior.
  3. Train your workforce on accountability and off-duty conduct. I suspect that this situation may provide a good example.

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”