Well, that would be pretty stupid of them to invoke that, since:
A) There is no such “need.” (The contractors themselves are restricted in some way, but, as far as I know, this does not extend to their employees.)
B) What they did is actually the opposite of being politically neutral.
I smell a law suit here. During the occurrence, the woman was not wearing any clothing linked to her employer and the only reason her employer found out about it was due to her coming forward and notifying them (perhaps a bad choice). She was also on her own time when this took place.
Unless there’s something more specific in an employment agreement, attorneys may be salivating.
I love the euphemisms I’ve seen in some of the Spanish press. What peineta, it’s called mandar a tomar por culo (telling someone to go get buggered)… I guess they can’t write “ass” on the newspaper or something.
It was probably more a case of her picture being viral and the other comment being seeing by like 17 people. If it was the other way around, I’d imagine the consequences would be different. It’s often the case that when someone breaks a work rule that’s generally ignored they get called on it if it goes viral. In some cases, it seems like employers find a reason to fire people when what they do doesn’t break a rule but they don’t want to be connected to the person any more.
Whether you want to or not, you really should always assume that you’re always being recording and anything you do could potentially be viewed by millions of people. Gone are the days when you won’t lose your job because you brake check someone while on vacation three states away or got into a political argument in the food court at the mall with a random stranger and accidentally let a comment slide that was a bit too nasty because you were overly worked up.
All potential arguments that it wasn’t fair, but unlikely any grounds for a law suit. Virginia is as ‘at will’ state with a pretty specific description in the law ‘any reason or no reason’.
In contrast w/ Google and anti-PC memo guy, CA is technically ‘at will’ but also has a law saying employers can’t threaten firing to force employees to take or refrain from political positions (Google could argue that wasn’t what happened, but most seem to assume they will or have quietly paid a settlement). In most states the only exceptions to ‘at will’ are where the firing is against ‘public policy’ (generally meaning the employee was fired for refusing to act on the job against public policy, companies firing whistle blowers, etc) or it violates federal laws against group discrimination, retaliation for union activity, etc.
Besides that, I have to wonder how much a company can dictate what you post on your social media site(s). Suppose the woman had never posted it on her site, but her neighbor snapped a pic, and then posted it on her site. Had it gone viral, the effect would have been exactly the same, at which point it becomes company policy not to flip off the president during off-hours.
Well, if I owned a business and one of my employees had flipped off Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Bill De Blasio or Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Jerry Brown or some other prominent liberal politician I hate, I’d fire that person.
Yeah, but that would be completely understandable.
Maybe I wasn’t clear, but is it legal for a company to have a policy about what its employees can post on their social media? That is, as long as the post has nothing directly to do with the company itself. (trade secrets, etc).
The bottom line is that the First Amendment only protects you from the government. Generally speaking, a private business can institute whatever speech regulations it wants. They can make flipping off the President a firing offense. If the owner is a Patriots fan, he can make bad mouthing Tom Brady a firing offense.
The fact that Akima is a federal contractor might make things more complicated. Briskman might argue that Akima fired her over concerns that the government would otherwise make decisions that would hurt the firm. If so, then she can argue that it was the government’s actions which led to her being fired for expressing her opinion and that was an unconstitutional infringement of her freedom of speech.
I would not fire anyone for expressing political opinions. But flipping the bird is NOT just expressing a political opinion.
if one of my employees waved a NOT MY PRESIDENT SIGN at either Trump or Obama, I’d shrug. If one of my employees chanted “Hey hey ho ho ____ has got to go,” I’d say, "What you do on your own time isn’t important to me.
But flipping the bird? You’ve embarrassed the firm and needlessly ticked off customers. Bye!