There aren’t too many opportunities to display your pride for your country, but one man people have chosen in recent years is wearing an American flag pin. Flag pins have become ubiquitous with on-air personalities, but also with many who just like to exercise their constitutional right to declare their love of America.

For more than 2 years, Sean May, a front desk supervisor at the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, wore an American flag pin while at work. This past week he was told to remove the pin because it violates company policy. When he refused, he was promptly sent home. The next day May was terminated.

May, a 26 year-old, displaying more gumption than many his senior, told News 4 Jacksonville, “I’ve actually gotten probably more compliments about it than any of the service I’ve actually done at the hotel, which is an interesting concept.”

The hotel had recently gone through a change in management at the corporate level and was working to revamp its image.

A spokesperson for the hotel released this statement: “Casa Monica has always had personal appearance guidelines, and they are currently being enforced.”

May said, “It seems silly. It seems so, so silly in the long run. They’re so upset about a little pin, and yet I come to work every day and flying over the hotel there’s a gigantic American flag.”

May said he loves his job, but he’s willing to risk it to stand up for what he feels is right.

Immediately before May was dismissed, the Casa Monica Hotel answered some questions from the television station in an email:

The Casa Monica Hotel located in St. Augustine, Florida, is an American-based, homegrown historic hotel. The property reflects its pride in America and great patriotism by flying the Stars and Stripes high over the hotel. The American flag greets every guest and employee with its symbolism of our belief in this great country.

However, our employee handbook clearly states, ‘No other buttons, badges, pins or insignias of any kind are permitted to be worn.’ No matter an individual’s national preference, political views or religious affiliation, it is a standard regulation which ensures equality for all Grand Performers (employees).

Surely the Casa Monica Hotel was within its rights to terminate May for disregarding the company’s rules, but a company that states such pride in America should also respect an employee’s pride of this country as well. While the actions of the hotel don’t appear to be a matter of political correctness, there is a dash of nationalistic correctness in dismissing May. In what appears to be move to avoid offending foreign nationals they are enforcing a policy that discourages signs of pride in the country they themselves reside. The shortsightedness of their approach is astonishing. Why would someone visit or relocate to the U.S. if they’d somehow be offended by the American flag? They proudly display it at the entrance to the hotel, so a small pin on an employee’s chest is somehow offensive?

One would have to assume the actions of the hotel were intended to prevent foreign nationals working at the hotel from displaying pride in their home country, possibly offending an American. Rather than make a rule that only American flags could be worn while on duty and creating an issue with non-American employees, they simply made a broad rule denying anyone the privilege of displaying national pride. Perhaps it was fear of litigation? Regardless, in the process of avoiding offending a few, they’ve managed to offend millions. Not the best way to re-image your hotel. Casa Monica needs to seriously reconsider their actions as the fall-out will be far greater if they do not.

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