Tag: free speech

Can They Do That? Firing Employees for Off-Duty Conduct

by T. Harold Pinkley Participating in last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia—an event that involved several groups usually identified as the “alt-right,” along with groups protesting the marchers—has proven to have unforeseen and unintended consequences, including job loss, for some of the people involved. This article examines how you can or should […]

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Office politics: preventing disruptive discourse

by David L. Johnson Recently, a Pennsylvania YMCA stopped showing cable news shows on the TVs in its gym because they were prompting political squabbles among its members. When filtered into the diverse workplace, passionate opposing political viewpoints can harm productivity and morale and even create liability issues for employers. Sometimes political discussions can morph […]

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You say gorilla, I say guerilla

by Mark I. Schickman Political correctness is a moving target in America today—President Donald Trump got elected in part because of his battle against it. But it remains alive and well in broadcast journalism, as ESPN tennis commentator Doug Adler learned earlier this year.    Adler was an All-American tennis player during his college days at […]

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Comments and tweet using variation of ‘n’ word are protected speech

by Michelle Lee Flores Actor and writer Marlon Wayans’ use of the term “nigga,” his comments referring to an actor’s “afro” and comparing him to a black character on Family Guy, and his tweet, including a side-by-side photo comparison of the actor and the Family Guy character, were all protected speech, according to a trial […]

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Election dynamics in the workplace: Free speech? ‘You’re fired’

by Courtney Bru None of us were immune from this year’s presidential election dynamics. Disrespect and name-calling have seemed more prevalent than policy discussions. The election was highly polarizing, potentially pitting employee against employee.  In the midst of it all, employees were often misinformed about their “free speech rights” in the workplace. A recent instance from Georgia […]

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From sports and entertainment to politics and social justice—when worlds collide in your workplace

It’s everywhere. Whether you like it or not, you can’t escape it. While the topics of politics and social justice are undoubtedly important discussions to have in our country, the reality is that they now seem ever present. Consider, for example, two popular entertainment outlets many individuals usually go to in order to “escape” from […]

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Do you have a Weiner in your workplace? Disciplining employees for off-duty misconduct

by Lauren E.M. Russell The most fortuitously named figure in modern politics is embroiled in yet another scandal: Former Congressman Anthony Weiner is back in the news because of a third round of sexting allegations. He has been suspended or terminated from two freelance writing positions because of the recent allegations against him. While a […]

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Don’t let Confederate flags lead to interoffice civil war

by Connor Beatty While enjoying a scenic drive along the Maine coast recently, I was startled to come across a giant Confederate flag prominently displayed in a house’s front yard. Less than a week later, a client contacted our firm to ask for advice in responding to an employee’s claim that a vehicle with a […]

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Cooling hot political buttons

During every political campaign, I am reminded of the notion that if we speak about our co-workers or subordinates in the manner in which the American voter speaks about political candidates, we should expect some remediation by our superiors or human resources. For example, if we question the legitimacy of an employee’s birth certificate, criticize […]

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Thin line between political and hate speech: What’s acceptable at work

by Holly K. Jones, J.D. Picture it—it’s a Friday afternoon at the end of a very long week, and just as you are about to sneak out early for the weekend, one of your employees walks into your office wearing a camouflage trucker hat emblazoned with the words “Make America Great Again.” Oh perfect, you […]

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