An MTA worker who stripped down to his underwear for the annual No Pants Subway Ride staged by Improv Everywhere was written up and reprimanded by a supervisor for engaging in "conduct unbecoming" even though he was off the clock when he participated in the January event, according to a published report.
More than 4,000 people in New York, along with MTA motorman Christopher Chase, participated in the 13th Annual No Pants Subway Ride Jan. 12, according to Improv Everywhere. The event, where random passengers board trains in the middle of winter with gloves, hats and scarfs but no pants, is held in more than 60 cities worldwide each year, and New York city officials have continued to sanction it.
According to the Daily News, a co-worker saw a picture of Chase on the 14th Street subway platform wearing a hooded sweatshirt, socks and green, white and blue briefs on Facebook and complained. The 39-year-old subway worker then was scolded by an MTA boss and told to vow in writing that it would not engage in similar conduct -- conduct that could tarnish the agency's reputation -- in the future.
Chase, a 13-year MTA veteran, also had to review the MTA's code of conduct, the paper said. Within that code is the rule that he is alleged to have violated. It states employees must “avoid behavior which would tend to create adverse criticism of the Authority or of the System. Their conduct, whether on or off duty on System Property, is required to be such as to merit the confidence and respect of the public and their superiors.”
But since Chase was off-duty -- he told the News he was on vacation -- when he participated in the event, union officials want any mention of a reprimand erased from his employment record. Transport Workers Union Local 100 lawyer Betzabeth Sanchez complained in a letter to the MTA that him getting written up was "plainly unreasonable" and violated his right to free speech, the News reported.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz confirmed to the News that Chase was written up, but said he "was not disciplined." He had no further comment to the paper other than, "We received a complaint and had to look into it."