Economics/Class Relations

Can You Get Fired For What You Do Outside Work?

The bottom line is that the Bill of Rights needs to be expanded to include corporations, universities, public sector agencies, and social media platforms, as these are just the economic, academic, bureaucratic and technological arms of the state, and antidiscrimination law needs to be expanded to include political and cultural affiliation as well as race, gender, and religion.

By Lauren Weber

Wall Street Journal

“A number of people have been fired after videos of their bad behavior in public were posted online. Is it legal to fire an employee for such public behavior when not on the job?”

The bottom line

In almost all cases, an employer can legally fire an employee for inappropriate behavior during personal time. The First Amendment doesn’t apply to work and employers have wide latitude to terminate people for things they say and do. “A private employer does not have to respect your free-speech rights,” says Stacy Hawkins, a law professor at Rutgers University. “Only the government has to do that.” In other words, generally speaking, you can’t be arrested for saying abhorrent things, but you can be fired.

The details

Such incidents seem more common these days. Smartphones allow people to record the behavior, and social media provides a platform for publicizing it and for individuals to be identified through crowdsourcing.


Leave a Reply