By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Your girlfriend has a lot to say about your choice of friends – but legally, does your boss? You betcha.

Seven Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have been notified that the department intends to fire them for what can only be described as an ironic display of magnificent proportions. The officers, assigned to an anti-gang unit, violated the department’s core values by forming a gang known as the Jump Out Boys, got matching tattoos and had a creed promoting unethical behavior, including shooting people.

Here’s the thing. Though idiotic, the Jump Out Boys never did anything illegal. What about their right – and yours – to freedom of association to join an after work club that your boss doesn’t like? Doesn’t apply here.

The officers association with a club that promotes illegal activities reflects badly on their department and their personal association could cause the public fear for their safety.

And they worked for the government – a private employer has even more freedom to fire you if it doesn’t like your posse so choose your associations carefully or you and the Jump Out Boys will be in need of a new J-O-B.

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