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Sunday, February 22, 2009

SOUND OFF: THE COACH GOT SACKED

Jeff Jagodzinski, the former football coach for Boston College, was fired after he interviewed for a job as head coach of the New York Jets, a higher-paying job in professional football. He had been warned by the college's athletic director that he would be fired if he interviewed for the Jets job, which he didn't get.

I asked readers if they thought that it was right to fire someone for interviewing for another job. Of the readers who responded to an unscientific poll on my column's blog, 22 percent thought that such firings were OK.

"If my employer warned me, and then I interviewed anyway," Clayton Eads opines, "I'd deserve a firing."

But another reader writes: "This is America, and since when is it not legal to better oneself, as long as it is done on your time, not company time?"

Patrick Harvey of Mission Viejo, Calif., acknowledges that, though the practice of tearing up contracts is often tolerated, Boston College had the right to enforce its contract.

"The downside," he writes, "is that it may make it difficult for the college to recruit future coaches if they know that they will be unable to break a contract and move up."

Check out other opinions here, or post your own by clicking on "Comments" or "Post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business and The Good, the Bad, and Your Business: Choosing Right When Ethical Dilemmas Pull You Apart, is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to rightthing@nytimes.com or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2009 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

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