Thursday, October 18

Freedom of Speech is not absolute, even in Universities

I didn't realise this. I quote

Gallaudet University’s “chief diversity officer,” Angela McCaskill, was suspended (with pay) for signing a petition that sought a referendum vote on whether to undo Maryland’s new same-sex marriage law. Is it legal for a private employer to suspend or fire an employee for signing a referendum or initiative petition?

Really? I didn't realise that private political activity is proscribed. But looks like it is

It depends on the state. As I’ve discussed in a good deal of detail in a recent article, Private Employees’ Speech and Political Activity: Statutory Protection Against Employer Retaliation, about half the states impose some restrictions on private employers’ ability to retaliate against employees for the employees’ speech or political activity. Some state laws cover a large range of speech and political activity, while some cover only a small range. (Some, which I didn’t discuss in the article, only ban discrimination based on how an employee voted.) But nearly all the states that do impose such restrictions — beyond a mere ban on discrimination based on voting — would apply to referendum or initiative signatures.

Its interesting, conceivably a firm can even go forward and tell me where and how to vote? How amazing. I never thought that a university would do this. Second, that my personal political activity (as long as it doesn't violate support for clearly illegal actions such as terrorism – although that is also debatable) can be ground for me being fired!!!!

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