STOCKTON, CA — A retired military veteran who now works at a hospital in California was recently put on leave after telling his employers that he wanted to speak with legal counsel about their request to remove ‘God bless America’ from his email signature.
The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) reports that Boots Hawks was called into his supervisor’s office at Dameron Hospital earlier this month and asked to remove the phrase from his email. While he complied with the directive, Hawks also told his supervisor that he wanted to consult with an attorney about his rights.
Much to his surprise, Hawks was put on leave for “insubordination.” He returned to work this Wednesday to find that the combination on his lock had been changed and his computer password had been suspended.
PJI sent a letter to the hospital the day prior, demanding that it recant its actions. It noted that Hawks has been on staff for ten years and was once named “Employee of the Year.” He had served twenty years in the Army, earning the rank of Sergeant First Class.
“Rarely do we see something as shocking as supervisors placing a hard-working military veteran on leave right before Veterans’ Day for saying something patriotic,” stated PJI President Brad Dacus. “The hospital’s actions were outrageous and illegal. We expect a swift apology and full restoration of Mr. Hawks’ rights.”
The organization has yet to receive a response from the hospital.