Worker Fired For Quran Burning Settles: Gets Job Back and More

Remember the New Jersey Transit employee who got fired for going to the proposed site of the Islamic Center near Ground Zero on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and very publicly burning pages of the Quran? Well, he's getting his job back and then some.

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The Star-Ledger Newark obtained a copy of the settlement, which shows that Derek Fenton will be allowed to resume his $86,110-a-year job. But he will also receive $25,000 for pain and suffering and back pay equal to $331.20 for every day since his firing on Sept. 13, 2010. A spokesperson for the ACLU says that after passing a physical and drug test on Monday, Fenton can return to work.

In addition, the state will also pay $25,000 in legal fees to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit claiming Fenton's right to free expression was violated.

"Our government cannot pick and choose whose free speech rights are protected, based on whether or not they approve of the content of our statements or actions," Fenton said in a statement. "This is the very essence of the First Amendment."

Fenton, who is 40-years-old, was not on the company clock when he set fire to three pages of the Quran. He did it on his own time, wearing nothing that would link him to NJ Transit. While New Jersey Governor Chris Christie condemned Fenton and supported the firing, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a prominent Muslim group, stated Fenton should keep his job.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell


Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want.  Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, and many other media outlets.  Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on

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