A Guide to Free Speech at Work - Part 1

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Legally, what are employees allowed to say about your business? How much control do you have over what they say? What can you do if they say something you don’t like? Read on for the key points you need to be aware of.

Is employee free speech protected by the constitution?

In a word, no. The constitutional First Amendment right to free speech does not apply to your employees, at least not while they are at work. This means that, during business hours, you as the employer have the ability to curb certain employee speech. This doesn’t mean that employers can restrict all employee speech and expression however…

State by State

It is so important to know the laws of the state(s) you operate your business in, as the laws relating to employee speech vary. Some states, like California, protect employees from disciplinary action by an employer, as long as what they do is legal and on their own time. Likewise, a number of states prohibit employer retaliation in instances of, say, whistle-blowing or reporting harassment. There are also several states that prohibit employers from firing or disciplining an employee based on their political views.

Read the next part of our ‘Free Speech at Work’ series, in which we look at social media, here.