Acadian Companies has fired Jamie Bergeron, a 30-year employee and celebrated Cajun musician, after a public uproar over posts about race on his personal social media.
An issued statement said the company made Bergeron’s dismissal public because “it is important to our Acadian family and the communities we are honored to serve that we both acknowledge and communicate the action that we have taken … .”
“The posts and underlying insensitivity and disrespect shown by the posts are not in any way representative of our Company, our beliefs and values, and the extraordinary work of the men and women who work for Acadian,” the company said in an issued statement Tuesday afternoon. “We humbly ask for consideration, as we have all been reminded of in these trying times, that one person and their actions do not represent the whole of one community, one gender, one race, one religion or one company.”
Bergeron’s social media posts created an uproar starting last week. On his social media account, Bergeron, who leads Jamie Bergeron and the Kickin' Cajuns, used an image of a shopper in a store wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood, a “stick man” image of a vehicle crashing into protesters in a roadway and other statements perceived as racially insensitive or offensive.
Company spokesman Randall Mann said the company has clear rules about social media that were "clearly violated" by Bergeron's posts. He said the company holds annual training on diversity and employees have to sign to acknowledge the social media policy. He said the company twice sent out warnings about social media use to employees in the last three weeks.
The company’s leadership suspended Bergeron last week and met over the matter for several days while human resources professionals met with Bergeron, who took down the social media posts from public view at the company’s request.
A celebrated Cajun musician for several days has been busy explaining his social media postings, some of which have been perceived as inflamma…
However, Bergeron was shown wearing the Acadian Ambulance uniform on his personal social media account, identifying him with the company, which quickly distanced itself from Bergeron and his posts.
Mann said Bergeron's situation was handled by his vice president. He said the company was diligent in reviewing the complaints and in dealing with the employee, but could not comment further on the personnel action.
Mann said he's answered numerous calls from people angry over Bergeron's posts, although he said those who called were respectful as well as passionate. On Tuesday, he said, he was fielding communications from people angry that Bergeron had been suspended and then fired.
The company in its statement said “we are doing our part to educate and create awareness and a sense of renewed respect for the value of a diverse workforce and the importance of the current Black Lives Matter movement.”
But Mann said the company will review its own policies in planning for the future.
“Know that we have received your phone calls and read your texts,” the company said in its statement. “The management and 4,800 employee owners of Acadian Ambulance Service value the trust the public places in us to care for them.
"Derogatory actions by any employee who blatantly violates that trust will not be tolerated.”
Mann said he hopes Acadian's customers will judge the company on its "49 years of saving lives and serving our communities."
"The acts of one employee shouldn't tarnish the other 4,800," he said, calling the situation "hurtful" for Acadian employees.
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