Can you get fired for protesting? Or spouting off on social media?

Monday, June 15, 2020

Aaron Holt was quoted in the Chicago Tribune discussing anti-discrimination protections and incendiary conduct in the workplace. More employers may find themselves navigating that situation as offices reopen amid the pandemic and employees come back with the latest fashion accessory: face masks. If employers allow workers to wear masks with Cubs logos but not with Black Lives Matters logos, they may find themselves with a suit on their hands. “It’s when you start inconsistently enforcing the policies that employers run into problems,” said Aaron. If employees — public or private-sector — make incendiary or offensive comments at protests or on social media, even during nonwork hours, they could violate company harassment or anti-discrimination policies. Employers are required under Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act to provide a discrimination-free workplace, so they wouldn’t only be within their rights to discipline such employees but obligated to do so. “If the company didn’t take action they might have some civil rights issues,” he said. “If they do nothing, the argument will be that they tolerated that conduct, that that is their standard operating procedure.”

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