Lighter side: Fired for dancing?

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Is dancing on the job just cause for dismissal? Tennessee park ranger Deryl Nelson claims he was fired after a complaint from a visitor who posted a video of his moves online.
 
Nelson, 51, has been working at Coolidge Park for seven years, and drawing attention for his dance moves for the last six years.
 
"It's all about enjoying what you do and that's the way I feel," Nelson said told a local TV news channel. "[It's] clean fun. It's nothing like doing any bumping and grinding."
 
However, not everyone agrees. Park visitor Melissa Parsons filmed one of his dance sessions and posted it online.
 
"As a parent and seeing all the parents that were covering their kids eyes and turning their heads away, it wasn't something you would expect to see in Coolidge Park or anywhere from a grown man, especially a man in uniform," Parsons told NewsChannel9.com. "He went all the way to the ground, he came back up from the ground, he was grabbing areas that you would see on a rated R movie."
 
The raw video of Nelson's dance shows him at one point laying on the ground with his legs folded under his body while he seems to pump his pelvis towards the sky.
 
Watch the video below and tell us in the comments whether you think it’s work appropriate.

 
 
  • Justin B. on 2014-06-27 11:02:03 AM

    He certainly didn't seem "to pump his pelvis towards the sky". He was clearly just keeping an internal rhythm by moving to a beat so continued that beat while he was on the ground. He was by no means doing something "R-rated".

    As HR Professionals, we need to be aware of emotional intelligence. It is a growing trend in our society that people actively look for the offensive in any behaviour. So yes, I could see how Ms. Parsons could read something sexual into this vidoe. But I would argue it says more about her mindset than the dancing of this man or his motivation.

  • Mary on 2014-06-27 12:13:50 PM

    In uniform?! And during his shift (i.e. instead of doing his duties)?! Also, not a clean disciplinary record....now he's got all the time in the world to promote his dance moves.

  • Nish on 2014-06-27 12:20:05 PM

    100% agree with Justin and could not have articulated it better. Ms. Parsons view should be counterbalanced with feedback from other visitors. He should have also been given an opportunity to change the moves if they were deemed inappropriate by some visitors ....if this was the only reason for firing.

  • Helen B. on 2014-06-27 12:20:49 PM

    I would agree with Justin B. he was by no means performing any "R-rated" movements and seems to just have the rhythm and I would also agree about Ms. Parsons mindset. I believe that terminating his employment was too extreme for the behaviour.

  • Ellen Z on 2014-06-27 12:54:13 PM

    I agree with Justin. I don't think the video itself, as one incident will constitute a justic cause for dismissal. Unless, the park has been receiving complaints from visitors for his dance and has talked to Deryl repeatedly in the past. In this context, this video may serve as the last piece of ice to apart the employment relationship.

    As there are no details about "drawing attention for his dance moves for the last six years" and whether any of his moves in the past were R-rated, it's hard to comment on this video only.

    Anyway, still don't think this one piece of evidence can give the Park the just cuuse for termination.

  • Ross Anderson on 2014-06-27 1:32:05 PM

    Ms. parsons must have been issued a parking ticket or got caught feeding the wildlife.
    I wish more people in uniform enjoyed their work as much and weren't afraid to show it

  • Alice K on 2014-06-27 2:21:40 PM

    I gather Ms Parsons has some deeper issues than those with the happy dance. Poor Ranger Nelson.

  • Tracey M on 2014-06-27 4:50:06 PM

    I think Tennesse must have a different idea of what constitutes R-rated. People are way too quick to imput a negative motive to something that looks like a guy gettin' his groove on, in my opinion.

  • Rowly on 2014-06-27 5:57:26 PM

    He's a park ranger. The role legitimately requires a certain decorum if he's going to have the credibility to address others' behaviours in parks. I'm all for dancing and as a Walmart greeter, he should get a promotion. But the organization was right on this one.

  • Son aon on 2014-06-27 9:24:38 PM

    What a crazy prude!! She has somethibg else in her mind

  • Deb M on 2014-06-28 8:13:28 AM

    I agree that this alone is not cause for dismissal, nor can I understand why anyone could object enough to film and send it to someone's employer.

  • Gail Kirk on 2014-06-29 1:17:59 PM

    I agree with Ellen Z. In and of itself, not a fireable offense, however in the state of Tennessee "employment is at will" and consequently it may not take much to result in termination. As an HR best practice, we would need to know much more information than is provided, such as: was he on his unpaid lunch hour, was there other discipline on his file, related or unrelated? Too many unknowns to determine if the termination was just cause.

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