No Freedom Of Speech At Work

The firing of biotech executive Adam Smith after his Chick-Fil-A protest left many on the left (and the right, in some places) screaming that his freedom of speech had been infringed. But as I’ve noted here before, freedom of speech can only be considered to have been repressed by the actions of a government, not a civilian employer. Business Week weighs in:

In America you can say pretty much whatever you want, wherever you want to say it. Unless, that is, you’re at work. Simply put, there is no First Amendment right to “free speech” in the workplace—potentially perilous for many employees in a polarized political year with a tight presidential race. [snip] Bosses and those who work under them are not equal when it comes to free-speech legal claims. Employers have the right to take action against any employee who engages in political speech that company leaders find offensive. With a few narrow exceptions the Constitution and the federal laws derived from it only protect a person’s right to expression from government interference, not from the restrictions a private employer may impose, lawyers say. Employers are not similarly restricted in expressing their political views or encouraging support for a particular candidate or cause.

(Tipped by JMG reader Kevin)