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(NECN: Greg Wayland, Bourne, Mass.) - A Bourne, Massachusetts firefighter is out of a job. He was fired after his bosses viewed a post on Facebook.
Can a Facebook posting get you fired? Just ask Bourne, Mass firefighter Richard Doherty who's alleged griping about a police colleague and other job-related matters blew up into a Facebook five alarm fire, and got him canned.
Doherty's not commenting , but the union is standing by him.
Gil Taylor, President IAFF Local 1717: "The union believes at this point that Mr. Doherty has been unfairly targeted and that the termination is improper."
That support comes with a candid acknowledgment about the 17-year department veteran also known for his charitable works.
"He's recently run a fundraiser to obtain funds to be able to build a ramp for a local handicapped child to gain access to the beach. but he is very vocal. if he doesn't think something is right, you can't shut him up. "
Doherty's Facebook posting offended some fellow workers who reported them to town officials..
In it, he allegedly railed against the police officer over some incident, angrily carried on about being forced to work on the Fourth of July holiday and made a homosexual slur.
Union representative Gil Taylor says the comments had Facebook restrictions, could not be viewed by the general public and were taken out of context.
Taylor: "He was exercising his First Amendment right to state that he thought he was being treated poorly by these individuals or didn't like the way they were doing things."
But town Administrator Thomas Guerino issued a statement Wednesday saying in part -- by publicly disparaging and ridiculing the lieutenant and then sergeant (and now police chief), Firefigher Doherty imperiled the link that must bind fire and police personnel. This conduct undermines the ability to serve the public and undercuts public confidence in the town's ability to provide these services.
All this puts Facebook front and center.
Taylor: "Is it private space, is it public space?"
Doherty and the union are deciding whether to appeal to the Civil Service ( he has already had a hearing and it went against him) or seek arbitration. He may also sue the town.