The right to do something doesn't mean our decision to exercise that right won't come without serious consequences. Many of the participants in the Day Without Immigrants Protest on Thursday have learned this lesson the hard way. Over 100 of those who skipped work were fired from their jobs. Restaurants and day care centers in states like Florida had the most firings. Bradley Coatings Incorporated, a commercial painting company, laid off nearly 20. Robert Peal, the company's attorney, verified that employees were warned that they may be terminated if they skipped work on Thursday to protest, but 18 chose to do so anyway.

Workers suffer layoffs across the country

From the East Coast to the West Coast, workers suffered layoffs across the country for not reporting for work without notice.

  • In Lexington, S.C., 21 workers from Encore Boat Builders LLC were fired when the decided to skip work to attend the protest. They each received letters on Friday telling them they were being terminated for no show/ no call in. They had also been warned by management to not miss work or they would be fired.
  • Police escorted 25 workers from Ben's Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers in Long Island, New York, after they returned to work the next day after the protest. Many had worked at the restaurant for years and most were undocumented.
  • The I Don’t Care Bar and Grill in Catoosa, OK fired 12 for skipping work. The bar has zero tolerance for employees who don’t show up for work without notifying their employer.

The debate about the firings

The debate of whether the firings were justified is heated on both sides.

Those who participated in the protest without prior notice who lost their job because of it feel that being fired was wrong. Their argument was that it was only one day. That it was their right. On the flip side, management had warned employees what would happen if they didn't show up for work. While one can understand why someone would want to take part in a First Amendment right to protest, there is a proper way to do so and it only applies to actual citizens. Employees need to understand their responsibilities such as showing up for work. A small business can be crippled by multiple workers skipping work without notice.