• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

‘Free speech’ no protection to workers

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources,Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

The next time an employee argues that he has a First Amendment right to say whatever he wants at work, wear a T-shirt with a controversial message or display a sexually suggestive piece of art in the workplace, tell him that his First Amendment rights stopped the minute he walked through your door.

In fact, First Amendment free-speech protections do not apply in the private workplace. Your responsibility to maintain a harassment-free workplace comes first.

Recent case: A mechanic who worked on company delivery trucks was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Following a heated political debate, he pasted several Confederate flag stickers on his toolbox.

When a black employee complained that the flags were offensive, the company asked the mechanic to remove them, even offering to buy him a new toolbox. He refused and was fired for violating the company's anti-harassment policy. He sued, citing his First Amendment free-speech rights.

The trial court dismissed the case, and a federal appeals court agreed. Employers have a right to minimize workplace conflict and avoid liability under federal anti-discrimination laws, and that can mean "preserving a harmonious and efficient work environment," the court said. (Dixon v. Coburg Dairy Inc., No. 02-1266, 4th Cir., 2003)

Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!

Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...

We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.

The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.

" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/502/free-speech-no-protection-to-workers "

Leave a Comment