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LAW LOVER'S LOUNGE: "What are my Free Speech rights at work? Tell me!"

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Courtney Elizabeth Anderson

Courtney Elizabeth Anderson


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Our LAW LOVER'S LOUNGE™ series addresses a general overview of some of the most important issues to the general public! Attorney Courtney E. Anderson has owned a general practice law firm since 1998 in Texas, USA.

There is no client relationship created between this show and Attorney Courtney E. Anderson, or The Law Offices of Courtney E. Anderson (Litigation-Mitigation.com). These disclaimers are very important. The content in these shows is for general educational purposes and is not the delivery of legal services. This episode is, “What are my Free Speech rights at work? Tell me!”

1) What are your Free Speech rights in society at large? Are people legally guaranteed free speech? For example, in the USA the right to Free Speech is in the federal constitution. It states, “AMENDMENT I - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment).

What are the Free Speech rights in practice (i.e., what happens to people in real life who engage in unpopular speech)? Pay attention to this aspect of your analysis!

2) What are the employment rights in society? Are people legally guaranteed jobs? In the USA, they are not. Thus, a job is a privilege and not a right. Therefore, employers may make decisions based on tardiness, dress, politeness, etc., and thus are able to make decisions based on speech (that they deem inappropriate for their organization).

In any case, ask yourself what the benefit is to behaving in an insulting or demeaning manner? I would not advise it irrespective of what the law provides. Be strategic about your professional behavior and goals!