Military Veteran Put On Leave for Saying  “God Bless America”—Right Before Veteran’s Day

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Stockton, CA—A retired military veteran who now works in a hospital was stunned when supervisors called him into the office last week to demand that he remove “God Bless America” from his e-mail signature block.  What happened next was even more shocking—he complied with the directive but was placed on administrative leave for “insubordination” when he said he wanted to consult with legal counsel about his rights.   

Pacific Justice Institute now represents this veteran, Mr. Boots Hawks, and sent a strongly-worded letter to his supervisors at Dameron Hospital in Stockton, late Tuesday.  In the letter, PJI Staff Attorney Matthew McReynolds reminded the hospital that Mr. Hawks has been a dedicated employee for ten years, earning such distinctions as “Employee of the Year” for his work in quality assurance.  Prior to joining the hospital staff, Mr. Hawks spent twenty years in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of Sergeant First Class.  PJI is demanding that supervisors rescind their disciplinary action and their censorship.


PJI President Brad Dacus commented, “Rarely do we see something as shocking as supervisors placing a hard-working military veteran on leave right before Veterans’ Day for saying something patriotic.  The hospital’s actions were outrageous and illegal.  We expect a swift apology and full restoration of Mr. Hawks’ rights.”    

Mr. Hawks returned to work on Wednesday to find that lock combinations had been changed and his computer password had been suspended.  The hospital had not yet responded to PJI’s letter as of Thursday morning.

***For media requests, please contact Brad Dacus at 916-857-6900***


Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit legal organization dedicated to defending religious, parental, and other constitutional rights. 

P.O. Box 276600 Sacramento, CA 95827-6600 
Phone: (916) 857-6900 Fax: (916) 857-6902
www.pji.org