With the Republican National Convention wrapping up this week, political conversation is assuredly becoming a more common occurrence in workplaces around the country. Importantly for employers, political action and speech in the workplace threatens disruption and damage to relationships among coworkers, as the political divisions in this country are exceedingly acute this campaign season. This leads us to the question we are addressing today in the second in our election-year series on the Work Knowledge Blog: whether employers can restrict political speech of their employees. In other words, is there such a thing as “free speech” in the workplace?
First, it is worth noting at the outset that the First Amendment’s right of free speech does not apply to private employers. See, e.g., Estate of Thornton v. Caldor, Inc., 472 U.S. 703, 708 (1985). In other words, the Constitution does not protect an employee’s speech in the workplace, and similarly,… Continue Reading