Tyler Chancellor: Chattanooga Man Loses Job Over National Anthem Protest, Tennessee Law Is On His Boss’ Side

A Tennessee man was fired from his job for declining to stand during the national anthem, and he’s almost certainly out of luck, as Tennessee law appears to be on his employer’s side.

As WZTV (Nashville) reports, Tyler Chancellor had only been working for 9Round, a kickboxing gym in Chattanooga, for a few days, when he made the decision that cost him his job. Chancellor and other 9Round employees were invited to a special event at the VIP section of Camp Jordan Arena on Saturday. During the national anthem, Chancellor, who is black, chose not to stand.

“Me being a minority in this society, I chose to stand up for what I believe in- well not actually stand up, but sit down for what I believe in.”

He wasn’t alone — Chancellor says there were other minorities present that day who chose not to stand.

“I wasn’t the only one sitting down. There were other minorities in the stands sitting down.”

Chancellor, who was training to be a kickboxing instructor at 9Round, says he didn’t hear anything about his protest at the time. But when he went to work on Monday morning, the owner told him he was no longer welcome at the facility.

“[The owner] said,’ because you sat down, you were a part of a 9Round event, and you sat during the national anthem. We no longer want to continue business with you.’ There was no sugar coating.”

The owner of the gym, for his part, says he supports the military and first responders, and he found Chancellor’s actions disrespectful. He declined to be interviewed.

Chancellor says he considered legal action, but unfortunately for him, he is almost certainly out of luck as far as getting his job back. Tennessee law, like the law in about half of the fifty states, allows for an employer to fire an employee for any reason or for no reason, excluding certain reasons (such as race, religion, or national origin) protected by the Civil Rights Act. For an employee to exercise his or her free speech rights in a way that their employer doesn’t agree with, there is no protection, says Harvard Law School Professor Mark Tushnet.

“Employers are entitled to fire people what’s known as ‘at will.’ That is for any reason they have, or for no reason at all.”

Still, Chancellor doesn’t regret his decision to sit out the national anthem.

Tyler Chancellor is not the first person outside of the NFL to find that flag-related protests don’t always sit well with people who have authority over them. As the Inquisitr reported this week, Texas teen India Landry sat out the Pledge of Allegiance in her Texas high school, only to find herself expelled on the spot. School officials later reversed their decision and allowed India to return to class; her family has since filed a lawsuit.

Do you believe Tyler Chancellors employer was right to fire him for sitting during the national anthem? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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