Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Is Demon-Cleansing a Firing Offense?

The University of Texas at Arlington has fired two women because they prayed for a co-worker they thought was possessed by a demon. What might have put it over the top, though, was rubbing perfumed oil on their co-worker's cubicle. It raises a difficult issue: should you be fired for being a complete whackjob? And does rubbing oil in the workplace constitute some kind of vandalism? The two employees had already been warned about earlier conflicts with the demonic co-worker. There's also another question here: does academic freedom extend to a conventional workplace (as this appears to be) if it happens at a university? In other words, does academic freedom apply only to the teaching and research aspects of a university, or does that higher standard of protection include the typical bureaucratic environment as well.

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