A total of 18 people were fired from one business after joining the nation-wide protest "A Day Without Immigrants."
Thousands of people participated in the movement across the country, including people in Middle Tennessee.
In Nolensville, nearly 20 employees at Bradley Coatings, Incorporated told their supervisors on Wednesday they'd be taking part as well. Then, on Thursday they were told they no longer had jobs.
"We are the team leaders directly under the supervisors and they informed us last night that we could not go back to work and the boss said we were fired," one employee told us.
The former employee asked to remain anonymous but had this message to his former boss.
"I would tell him he was unfair, after working for them for so many years, gave him our best. They could not understand that it was just one day. We were going to make up that day on a Sunday, but they didn't understand that, and it was not the best way. They didn't give us an opportunity and just told us we were fired," he said.
"Tennessee is an employment-at-will state which basically means an employer can end your employment at any time without reason or cause. Of course, there are a lot of different stipulations, civil rights issues that could stop them from doing that," Department of Labor and Workforce Development spokesman, Chris Cannon said.
Bradley Coatings, Inc.'s attorney released the following statement:
"Bradley Coatings, Incorporated (BCI) is a family-owned, Nashville-based business that provides commercial painting services to its clients on a very demanding schedule. Established in 1986, BCI has always celebrated diversity and supported the immigrant community. This past Wednesday night, certain employees of BCI informed their leadership that they would not be at work the following day. Because of the time-sensitive nature of the jobs these employees were assigned to, all employees were told that they would need to show up for work or they would be terminated. On Thursday, the majority of BCI’s employees fulfilled their obligations to our clients, but eighteen employees did not. Regretfully, and consistent with its prior communication to all its employees, BCI had no choice but to terminate these individuals. The reason these employees missed work—to engage in peaceful demonstrations—had nothing to do with BCI’s decision to terminate them. BCI regrets this situation, but it has contracted with its clients to complete work on a schedule set by the client’s general contractor. BCI will review its procedures in an effort to avoid similar issues in the future, and will continue to provide timely service to its clients and support to the Nashville immigrant community." - Robert Peal, Company Attorney