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Employers Speak Out, Take Action After Capitol Invasion

Human resources teams, employers and industry trade groups wasted little time zeroing in on staff who participated in the January 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.  

amplification 1294300 640On the day of the invasion, National Association of Manufacturers’ president and CEO Jay Timmons set the tone with a harsh rebuke of President Donald Trump and his supporters responsible for sacking the Capitol. “Armed violent protestors who support the baseless claim by outgoing president Trump that he somehow won an election that he overwhelmingly lost have stormed the U.S. Capitol today, attacking police officers and first responders, because Trump refused to accept defeat in a free and fair election,” Timmons noted in his January 6 statement.

Timmons described the attack as a “disgusting episode” and called out Republican lawmakers for cheering Trump on and for “adding fuel to the distrust that has enflamed violent anger.” He also urged Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power and lamented that manufacturing workers trying to rebuild the economy amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic were being undermined by leaders who failed to defend democracy.

“This is not law and order. This is chaos. It is mob rule. It is dangerous,” he added. “This is sedition and should be treated as such." Timmons formerly served as executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Top leadership at law firm Crowell & Moring, which has dozens of ex-government officials on its payroll, echoed Timmons’ call for the 25th Amendment, while JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon strongly called on Trump to condemn the attack, U.S. News & World Report reports.

Also on the day of the insurrection, Kevin Oakes, CEO of human capital research firm i4cp, urged top leaders at companies to “speak up versus remaining silent and remind the workforce of the company’s purpose and values,” Human Resource Executive reports. “Leadership should acknowledge differences, but stress that we all need to keep one thing in mind: Respect for each other and working as a team toward our purpose,” Oakes said. “No team wins when it’s divided; as a team, we need to remain united around the company’s purpose and values.”

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, expressed concern the day of the insurrection for the airline employees her group represents and the passengers they serve, according to U.S. News & World Report. She also said the participants should be prevented from boarding planes set to leave Washington after the attack. “The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person on board,” Nelson said.

In a January 7 Facebook post, one day after the Capitol attack, Navistar Direct Marketing noted that it “was made aware that a man wearing a Navistar company badge was seen inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 during the security breach.”

“After review of the photographic evidence the employee in question has been terminated for cause,” the firm noted. “While we support all employees’ right to peaceful, lawful exercise of free speech, any employee demonstrating dangerous conduct that endangers the health and safety of others will no longer have an employment opportunity with Navistar Direct Marketing.”

A Dallas-based lawyer who served as the associate general counsel and human resources director for Goosehead Insurance was fired after being outed by a Twitter user who shared the man’s Instagram story, The Washington Post reports. Paul Davis used the platform to livestream what was taking place at the Capitol.

The board of Illinois data analytics marketing firm Cogensia sent a strong message when it fired its CEO and president, the Daily Herald reports. The firm placed Bradley Rukstales on a leave of absence a day after the Capitol attack. A day later, Rukstales faced two federal charges including knowingly entering a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol property. On that day, the board fired Rukstales.

“This decision was made because Rukstales' actions were inconsistent with the core values of Cogensia,” said Joel Schiltz, Cogensia's senior vice president and chief operating officer. Schlitz was appointed acting CEO at the time.

 “Cogensia condemns what occurred at the U.S. Capitol on [January 6], and we intend to continue to embrace the values of integrity, diversity and transparency in our business operations, and expect all employees to embrace those values as well,” he said.

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