A Chicago-based real estate brokerage has severed ties with one of its agents after she took part in Wednesday riot at the U.S. Capitol
The brokerage, @properties, said it took action against Libby Andrews (pictured) after she posted on social media about her presence at the riot on Wednesday. Andrews later said she did not take part in any violence, but admitted to being part of the mob that later overran the Capitol building. However, she said she remained outside and was not part of the group that forced their way inside.
“I went there to support my president,” Andrews told Crain’s Chicago Business. “I never saw anything destructive taking place.” Andrews said the group she was with was singing the national anthem and Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” and she didn’t even know there was a breach of the Capitol until later that evening after she left.
But @properties justified its decision to take action, saying it had received “tremendous outreach” from the public making it aware of Andrews’ actions. It said it “unequivocally condemns these actions, and the company has severed ties with this agent, effective immediately.”
Andrews, who worked part-time with @properties for around three years, earlier posted selfies from the Capitol protest on Facebook. She insisted she did not participate in any illegal or destructive activity. Another Chicago brokerage, presumably one that supports President Trump, has since offered her an affiliation, it was reported.
Several other companies in unrelated industries have tack action against employees that took part in the riot Wednesday. Maryland-based Navistar, a direct marketing firm, said last week it had fired one of its employees after they were photographed wearing their company ID badge while inside the Capitol building.
“While we support all employees’ rights 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,” the company said in a statement to CNN.
Other companies may be struggling to determine how best to deal with employees that have shared their involvement in the Capitol uprising on social media. Inc.com reported that employers need to be cautious, as it’s not illegal to take part in protests, but obviously storming a U.S. government building crosses a line.
Attroneys say that companies can’t legally fire someone for simply for having different political views and exercising their First Amendment rights. However, state legal standards vary, and some give companies authority to act when an employee’s actions can be construed as damaging the working relationship.