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Joke about ISIS costs Muncie man his job

Posted at 9:30 PM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-22 11:47:34-05

MUNCIE, Ind. -- A Muncie man accused of being a member of the terror group ISIS has lost his job and is now trying to salvage his reputation. 

It started as an innocent conversation last September among a small group of employees at Progress Rail in Muncie.

But from that, Tim Simmons has lost his job, was investigated by the FBI, and now can't find work. 

"He started joking around like, 'Well, Tim, you're probably in with it.' I snickered back like them and said, 'Okay, what if I am?' I never said I was and we started joking around," Simmons said about the incident. 

But in December, the employee Simmons was talking to allegedly went to officials at Progress Rail saying that Simmons was a member of ISIS and that he feared for his life, claiming that Simmons said he intended to blow up the plant. 

Allegations Simmons denied, but he was told he was fired after an investigation by the company, which had also contacted the FBI. 

"I was investigated by the FBI and cleared, but they had it in their mind that I was terminated," Simmons said. 

Simmons says since then he's been denied unemployment claims, and is unable to find another job after explaining why he lost his job as a nearly four-year welder at Progress Rail.

The family is now struggling to pay their bills. 

"To be labeled ISIS? A terrorist? That's ridiculous," Paula Simmons said. 

RTV6 reached out to a spokesperson for Progress Rail's corporate headquarters, but so far, we have not heard back. 

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