Missoula Nissan Hyundai no longer employs a lube technician who posted a picture on Facebook of his middle finger raised in front of a car with Hillary Clinton bumper stickers, according to Nick Griffin, regional operations director.
Kyle O'Brien had said on the social media site that he refused to work on the car because it showed support for Democrat Clinton. On Tuesday, Griffin said the former employee confirmed he made the post.
"This employee no longer works at our dealership," Griffin said. "We apologize for his comments as they do not reflect the business practice or the values of our business or the dedicated team of employees who work here."
Griffin said the former employee crossed the line with his "vulgar" post. He also said the local team works well together and represents a variety of political views.
"We have a broad spectrum here, and we all work together well and we respect each other's opinions and views, and we respect the opinions and views of our customers," Griffin said. "And unfortunately, one employee's views being published on Facebook do not reflect us as a team."
The operations director described the act of taking a photo of giving the bird to a customer's car and posting it on a personal account as "vulgar" and said it does not represent the franchise. Another post referred to Clinton with a curse word. Missoula Nissan Hyundai has operated in Missoula 40 or 50 years, he said.
O'Brien declined to comment Tuesday.
The presidential election last week that will put Republican Donald Trump in the White House come January has left many on edge.
The posts, shown in a screenshot, are dated Sept. 10, before the election, but Griffin said the posts recently made their way to the company's Facebook feed and elicited many calls from customers who wanted to alert staff. Griffin said he since removed the image from the company's feed.
The operations director learned of the post Tuesday morning as he was boarding a plane in Wyoming for Missoula for one of his weekly visits.
O'Brien had worked for the company roughly six months, and Griffin said the company opted not to merely reprimand him. He said the franchise is not concerned about a backlash from Trump supporters because the local team represents a wide political spectrum.
"We just felt like it was best for the situation," Griffin said of the employee's departure.