NOLENSVILLE, TN (WCMH) — While people all over the country participated in “A Day Without Immigrants” protests, one business in Nolensville, Tennesee, has fired 18 people for joining the movement.
Nearly 20 employees at Bradley Coatings, Incorporated in Tennessee were told they no longer had jobs on Thursday morning, a day after those employees took part in the nationwide strike.
“We are the team leaders directly under the supervisors, and they informed us last night that we could not go back to work and the boss said we were fired,” one employee told WTVF. The employee asked to remain anonymous, but said that the workers who participated in “A Day Without Immigrants” planned to make up the missed day on a Sunday.
“I would tell him that he was unfair, after working for them for so many years,” the employee said.
However, whether the termination was unfair or not doesn’t matter in the Volunteer State.
“Tennesee is an employment-at-will state, which basically means an employer can end your employment at anytime without reason or cause,” said Chris Cannon, a spokesperson with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. “Of course, there are a lot of different stipulations, civil rights issues that could stop them from doing that.”
Bradley Coatings, Inc. released a statement through the company’s attorney. It reads:
Bradley Coatings, Incorporated (BCI) is a family-owned, Nashville-based business that provides commercial painting services to its clients on a very demanding schedule. Established in 1986, BCI has always celebrated diversity and supported the immigrant community. This past Wednesday night, certain employees of BCI informed their leadership that they would not be at work the following day. Because of the time-sensitive nature of the jobs these employees were assigned to, all employees were told that they would need to show up for work or they would be terminated. On Thursday, the majority of BCI’s employees fulfilled their obligations to our clients, but eighteen employees did not. Regretfully, and consistent with its prior communication to all its employees, BCI had no choice but to terminate these individuals. The reason these employees missed work—to engage in peaceful demonstrations—had nothing to do with BCI’s decision to terminate them. BCI regrets this situation, but it has contracted with its clients to complete work on a schedule set by the client’s general contractor. BCI will review its procedures in an effort to avoid similar issues in the future, and will continue to provide timely service to its clients and support to the Nashville immigrant community. – Robert Peal, Company Attorney