Fla. hotel worker fired for U.S. flag pin

Oct. 15, 2011 at 4:00 PM

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The decision to fire a Florida hotel worker for wearing a U.S. flag pin on the job is drawing fire from a county official.

Sean May, 26, lost his job as a front desk supervisor at Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine Thursday, WJXT-TV reported. The Jacksonville TV station said the hotel explained in an e-mail before May was dismissed that its employee handbook "clearly states, 'No other buttons, badges, pins or insignias of any kind are permitted to be worn.'"

"The property reflects its pride in America and great patriotism by flying the Stars and Stripes high over the hotel," the e-mail from the hotel stated. "The American flag greets every guest and employee with its symbolism of our belief in this great country."

That isn't good enough for people such as St. Johns County Commissioner Mark Miner, who said in a statement that while the hotel and its owner, Kessler Enterprise, have the legal right to ban such things as lapel pins in their staff dress code, an exception should be made for the American flag.

"I hope Kessler Enterprise will act quickly to correct the disrespect they have shown the flag of our great nation and end the embarrassment they have brought upon St. Johns County," said Miner, himself a military veteran.

Bruce Whalen, also a veteran, lauded May's stance and said he would be writing the hotel to register his dismay and its treatment of May. He added he was urging his friends to boycott the hotel.

"The dress code should include a [U.S. flag] lapel pin for everybody," Whalen said. "Anybody who takes a chance on his livelihood to take a stand for patriotism is a hero and should be treated like a hero."

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