Fact Check

Obama Bumper Sticker Layoff

Business owner chooses to lay off employees whose vehicles sported Obama bumper stickers?

Published Dec 11, 2008

Legend:   Business owner chooses to lay off employees whose vehicles sported Obama bumper stickers.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2008]

Fellow Business Executives:

As the CFO of this business that employees 140 people, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barrack Obama will be our next President, and that our taxes and government fees will increase in a BIG way.

To compensate for these increases, I figure that the Clients will have to see an increase in our fees to them of about 8% but since we cannot increase our fees right now due to the dismal state of our economy, we will have to lay off six of our employees instead.

This has really been eating at me for a while, as we believe we are family here and I didn't know how to choose who will have to go.

So, this is what I did. I strolled thru our parking lot and found 8 Obama bumper stickers on our employees' cars and have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off. I can't think of a more fair way to approach this problem. These folks wanted change; I gave it to them.

If you have a better idea, let me know.



Origins:   The item quoted above originally hit the snopes.com inbox on the morning of 5 November 2008, little more than 14 hours after the polls had closed on the previous day's

U.S. presidential election. The first person we received it from said "This was sent to me by a Republican friend less than one hour after Obama won," an assertion that, if accurate, puts paid to the notion of the e-mail's being the real thing, as there wouldn't have been time for any employer disappointed by the election returns to have taken a tour of his company's parking lot to count bumper stickers and then fire off a memo to all his employees. (This item likely was written before the election, with the "I have resigned myself" line referencing an expected future event rather than a fait accompli, but it didn't see wide circulation until immediately after the election results were known.)

We don't know who wrote the e-mail or that person's purpose for doing so, but the piece appears to be a political jab aimed at those who voted for (or were about to vote for) Barack Obama. The e-mail's original incarnation was not attributed to any particular person or business entity; its complimentary closing of "Sincerely" was not followed by any identification of the signer. Subsequently, the item (variously titled "Layoffs" or "Letter From the Boss") has been circulated with a variety of people listed as the memo's writer, including:

  • Aaron Templeton of Providence Property & Casualty
  • Kelly Herrod of Herrod Technology, Inc.
  • Carrie Trowbridge Law of InTrowVision Strategic Marketing LLC
  • Bob Shadix of Ace Investigations
  • Dan Remely of H-Squared Properties Inc.

The "Aaron Templeton" version (which is the most widespread, according to our inbox) is often prefaced thusly:

My 20 yr old niece works for a little insurance company in San Francisco. This is an actual email the CFO of the company sent out to all the employees.

One of the people to whom the screed was falsely attributed spoke to the press about it. Dan Remely, president of H-Squared Properties Inc., a Pittsburgh company that manages real estate holdings, said: "We didn't lay anybody off. We didn't fire anybody." His company, by the way, employs two dozen people, not the 140 claimed in the e-mail.

Barbara "letter of discontent" Mikkelson

Last updated:   14 December 2008


    Belser, Ann.   "Local Businessman an Innocent Victim of Obama Layoff Hoax."

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.   21 November 2008.