The OP asked:
Can a fired moderator be elected as a moderator?
- Should fired moderators be immediately eligible to stand for election, subject only to community approval of them returning?
Yes, when a firing has been proven to be without just cause
Just cause means a legally sufficient reason. Just cause is sometimes referred to as good cause, lawful cause or sufficient cause. A litigant must often prove to a court that just cause exists and therefore the requested action or ruling should be granted.
Just cause, in the employment context, refers to the employer's right to discipline or terminate employees for misconduct or negligence. In many states employers must at least show just cause for terminating you. For example, if an employer punished an employee without just cause, a Court can order the employer to compensate the worker. Just cause is legal jargon for a legitimate business reason, such as wrongdoing on the employee's part. Just cause is often a matter of interpretation by the courts or arbitrators.
In addition, the website: US.Legal.com, proceeds to list the steps an employer is expected to take before taking disciplinary action or terminating an employee's contract. It is, therefore, not unreasonable to assume a similar procedure be in place to safeguard the reputation and good name of a volunteer; especially one who was appointed by the company itself.
As was the case on January 30, 2019 when Monica Cellio was appointed (not elected) as a moderator on Meta.SE.
Monica is an experienced moderator across the Stack Exchange network and we thought it would be presumptuous to ask her to step up yet again; that was a little short-sighted of us because she's been rocking it here and has the cycles to come on board. If we make more changes, we'll write a separate post. Things have been going very well, so we don't anticipate that being any time soon.
From the same public announcement, [emphasis in bold mine]
These folks [the appointed moderators] have quite a bit of moderation experience, some since
the dawn of time the concept of pro-tem moderation itself. All of these individuals have been leaders on their respective sites, as well as leaders in the broader Stack Exchange moderator community. They're fair, even-keeled and most importantly, they're incredibly great at disagreeing with Stack Exchange!
- This isn't a pro-tem appointment, this is an office that they'll hold until they don't want it anymore or lose the capacity to continue. While we're very deliberately seeking folks that can constructively disagree with us, 'constructively' is a very key modifier, and we need to see that over a period of time.
Consequently, it is safe to presume that the company's executives asked its Community Managers to perform a detailed background check on Monica Cellio before officially appointing her as a moderator on their website. In fact, we (the community) were later informed by a CM that Monica Cellio's record was unblemished until her moderating privileges and all her six diamonds were revoked on September 27, 2019.
The question we are asking today is:
Did Stack Exchange follow a procedure similar to the one below?
- Did the company warn the worker in advance of taking action?
- Is there a clearly communicated work rule which covers the conduct and which is reasonable and related to the orderly, efficient and safe operation of the employer’s business?
- Did the employer investigate before taking action?
- a) Was the investigation fair and objective? 4. b) Does the supervisor serve as prosecutor, judge and witness all rolled into one?
- Is there substantial evidence that the worker is guilty?
- a) Has the employer been fair and even-handed in its enforcement of the rule(s) in question? 6. b) Is there "disparate treatment?"
- Was the degree of discipline related to the seriousness of the worker’s offense and worker’s prior work record?
(source: the same page at definitions.uslegal.com as above)
No one, except the executives and directors of Stack Exchange, can say whether they adhered faithfully to their own guidelines, while one would hope that the answer to questions 3 and 6 a) is yes, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that the answer to the remaining five is a resounding and clamorous “No”.
If, for whatever reason, the company directors and executives dismissed a moderator unfairly, the moderator should be immediately reinstated and be allowed to candidate themself for any moderator election they see fit. The company should not tarnish or slur the candidate's good name further by refusing the nomination in any future election, be it in one or twelve month's time.