Can You Get Fired For Protesting? Or Spouting Off On Social Media?
Labor and Employment Partner Phillip Schreiber was quoted in a Chicago Tribune article about whether employees are at risk of being fired for protesting or using social media to express solidarity with, or objections to, the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality. Private-sector employees have no federal free speech protections when it comes to their jobs. Some states have laws protecting employees who engage in off-duty political activity, but in Illinois that law applies only to elections and voting. So private-sector employers would be within their rights to fire or discipline workers for protesting or spouting off on social media (with some exceptions) — but attorneys urge caution against doing so outside of extraordinary circumstances.
“An employer should tread carefully because the backlash they might face from a public relations standpoint could have significant consequences,” Mr. Schreiber said.