Employment Law

Woman loses job after xenophobic incident on New Jersey Transit

A 30-year-old woman verbally harasses four german tourists during a xenophobic rant on a New Jersey transit train. She has lost her job as a senior talent acquisition specialist at Capital Rx as a result.

In a recent incident that grabbed media attention, a woman was filmed during an altercation with German tourists on a New Jersey Transit train. The video, which was widely circulated online, resulted in significant consequences for the woman involved, including termination from her job.

What happened

Brianna Pinnix, 30, was caught on video confronting a group of German tourists on the train, using strong language and telling them to leave the country.

WATCH: Woman filmed during xenophobic rant against German tourists. (Warning! Viewer discretion is advised.)

The video gained traction after it was shared on Reddit and subsequently picked up by multiple media outlets, leading to Pinnix being labeled as a “train Karen.”

Throughout the video, Pinnix is seen engaging with the German tourists, inquiring about their conversation in German. As the situation escalates, another man, believed to be Pinnix’s boyfriend, attempts to de-escalate the confrontation, reminding her that one of the tourists hadn’t made any offending comments.

When Pinnix labels the group as immigrants, her boyfriend ask her, “You know I’m an immigrant, I’m an immigrant, too, you know that, right?”

The video concludes with Pinnix telling the tourists to leave the country, a comment that drew reactions from other passengers onboard. According to the Reddit user who shared the video, this incident transpired post a football game featuring the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs. After the confrontation, the tourist in question moved away from the scene.

The aftermath

Pinnix was employed as a senior talent acquisition specialist at Capital Rx, a New York-based pharmaceutical firm. In light of the incident, the company took swift action.

“Our company has a zero-tolerance policy around prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour,” Capital Rx said in a statement.

“After conducting a review of the circumstances, we acted immediately and terminated the employee in question.”

They further clarified that Pinnix’s actions do not align with the company’s values and apologized to those affected.

As of now, Pinnix has not commented publicly regarding the situation. This incident serves as a reminder of the quick repercussions that can follow from discriminatory behavior, especially in the digital age where such episodes can swiftly be shared and viewed by the global community.

Can my employer fire me for the things I do outside of work?

In Canada, non-unionized employees can be fired for any reason, as long as they are provided full severance pay and the reasons for their dismissal aren’t discriminatory. This is called a termination without cause.

If your off-duty activities were appalling and violated your employer’s properly implemented policies, it’s possible that the company could have grounds to fire you for cause — meaning no severance package or access to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

Considered the “capital punishment” of employment law, it’s reserved for the worst workplace offences such as serious insubordination, theft, or assault.

However, to justify terminating you for cause, your boss would have to prove progressive disciplinary measures were applied and that a lesser penalty wouldn’t be acceptable, which is very hard to do.

• Wrongful dismissal in Canada: Your rights
• Do I have to look for a new job after getting fired?
• Can I get my job back if I am fired?

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