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HR Strange But True!
February 14, 2002
We all know that HR is never boring. But sometimes it can get downright strange?

Still, he's a people person

The Massachusetts State Police have rejected the job application of one Eugene O'Neill - not the playwright, but the pornographic book store owner.

The Boston Globe reports that the agency rerevoked O'Neill's admission into its next training class of state troopers last month, citing his refusal to divest ownership in two erotic bookstores.

Naturally, O'Neill has filed suit in federal court, charging that the decision infringed on his First Amendment right to free speech.

"The law makes clear that the First Amendment protects a public employee's right to engage in constitutionally protected speech, even if members of the public find that speech offensive," said O'Neill's lawyer, Shannon Liss-Riordan. "That right extends to police officers."

The State Police had made O'Neill a conditional job offer on Nov. 21, but that was before they performed a background check. In a terse follow-up letter dated Jan. 24, they told him thanks, but no thanks.

A State Police spokesman, Capt. Robert Bird, would not comment on O'Neill's suit but said the head of the State Police must approve any outside employment for a trooper. "It can't interfere with the member's duties," Bird said. According to the policy, extra jobs cannot create conflicts of interest or bring the officer or the State Police into disrepute.

Source: The Boston Globe

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