A Mobile firefighter is complaining about her firing for violating fire department policy. Best I can tell her defense is that she is a black female and therefore the rules don’t apply to her. The reporters couldn’t be bothered to do any original research. They had their hook, poor oppressed black female targeted by the white patriarchy. Bullshit.
I’m not a fan of tattoos. I have always regarded them as an indication of an individual’s knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA). Proper application of appropriate KSA’s can be used as an indicator of an individual’s suitability to perform a specific job. Adam’s tattoo and her statements surrounding the controversy indicates that she is unsuited to be a firefighter, at least in the Mobile Fire Department (MFD).
MFD policy prohibit face and neck tattoos. She knew this and got the tattoo anyway. That act is called insubordination. Had she had the tattoo prior to her employment, she probably wouldn’t have been employed. The fact that she believed that she was in compliance indicates an inability understand and follow basic rules.
When she got the head tattoo in June 2022, she believed it followed the fire department’s policy, which then prohibited “tattoos on the face or neck.”WKRG News
“Definitely blindsided, I never thought it would come to this, especially considering I was in compliance. I’m not necessarily out here trying to be disobedient and I’m not breaking any laws or anything like that, it’s just a tattoo,” said Adams. “What’s behind me shouldn’t affect the work that’s in front of me.”
She claimed that she attempted to cover the tattoo by letting her hair grow. Didn’t work. MFD policy specifies how hair must be worn. This isn’t about appearance. It’s about basic safety. Long hair, beards, mustaches can interfere with the proper fitting of respirators and bunker gear, subjecting firefighters to injury and death. This behavioral clue is yet another indication that Adams does not have a basic understanding of the duties and environment in which firefighters operate.
Adams tries to make the case that she is being picked on. She pointed out that other firefighters have run afoul of the same policy and remain employed.
News 5 asked if any other currently serving Mobile firefighters had tattoos that violated department policy. “Yes,” said the Mobile City Spokesperson, explaining that at least one firefighter has a neck tattoo; he was not being terminated for policy violation, but, instead was being allowed to cover the tattoo until its required removal.WKRG News
Yeah, but that firefighter has covered the offending tattoo and has apparently agreed to have the tattoo removed. There is also no indication how long this firefighter has been employed. He may be outside the working test period rules and therefore has additional employment protections. The comparison is not the same.
Length of employment is the 900-pound gorilla in the room. Most public safety agencies have in place a probationary period. MFD calls it a “working test period.” MFD policy specifies a six-month period. During this timeframe an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. MFD could have fired Adams before the ink on her tattoo had dried. Instead, they tried to work with her, to allow her to come into compliance with existing policy, by extending the working test period another six months. No good deed goes unpunished.
Adams has filed complaints against the city. It is not unreasonable to assume that she doesn’t intend to comply with policy. There is an answer to that question. Your working test period has been cancelled, don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.
In a written statement provided to News 5, Public Safety Director Lawrence Battiste wrote “I can confirm a former firefighter was terminated earlier this year (2022) during their working test period for failing to meet MFRD standards.”Public Safety Director, Lawrence Battiste
I’m a retired cop. Always figured that anybody that would run into a burning building wasn’t very bright. I guess I need to revise that opinion. The Mobile Fire Department was smart enough to figure out that they didn’t want to run into a burning building while relying upon Adams to have their back.