The First Amendment: Freedom of speech in the workplace – WDAY

Posted: August 9, 2017 at 4:52 am

The 1st amendment says you can take to the streets or express controversial views, but the amendment doesn't protect you against the resulting consequences.

"You sort of check your first amendment rights at the door when you work for a private employer," said Lisa Edison-Smith.

Anyone who doesn't work for the state or federal government isn't protected by the 1st amendment and to most that's a little known fact.

"I didn't know that, that's actually quite a surprise to me," said Devon Solwold, Moorhead.

An employer can fire you if your views are fundamentally different than those of the company and one google employee learned that the hard way after getting fired for sending this memo internally, saying there are fewer women in tech because they are quote 'biologically different.'

On Tuesday employment lawyers say these cases are showing up more now than ever thanks to social media.

"There's this disconnect that people will often post and do things at a computer or an Ipad that they wouldn't say face to face to people. If it's not willing to say something face to face, don't do it in an electronic comment," said Edison-Smith.

While everyone we spoke to says it's an important right, it's one that should be used with caution and wisdom.

Employment lawyers say you can express your views outside of work without consequence unless they damage the reputation or business as a whole.

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The First Amendment: Freedom of speech in the workplace - WDAY

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