DECATUR, Ala. – The Confederate Battle Flag may have cost two men their jobs. They claim they were fired from Turner Industries this week for refusing to remove the flag from their vehicles.
Phillip Sims tells us he doesn’t normally drive to work with the Confederate Battle Flag on his truck. But he says he was running late on Monday, and didn’t take the time to remove it.
Sims says the plant superintendent called him outside for a talk. He says the manager said, “Hey, we like your work here and we like you, but your flag, it’s gonna have to go. He said I hate to be the one to tell you that but if you don’t I’m gonna have to fire you.”
He says the company has called him three times since Monday morning offering to rehire him if he’d just take the flag off his truck. But now, Sims says it has just gone too far and he stands by his actions. “I’m unemployed now but I still feel that I made the right decision,” says Sims.
There are claims Turner Industries fired another employee on Tuesday for the same reason. That employee asked not to be identified.
Sims says all this goes beyond the flag, all the way to his First Amendment right of free speech. “It’s a statement of our heritage and it’s just my right to have it and I don’t think that I should just give it up because somebody told me I had to,” says Sims.
He has contacted the ACLU in hopes it may take interest in his case.
Officials with Turner Industries declined to make any comment. They have referred all questions to their corporate attorney. WHNT News 19 has called a number of times and they have yet to return any of our messages.