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To Protest or Not to Protest: That is the (Employment) Question - Labor and Employment Law News

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Labor and Employment Law News

Posted on: Feb 28, 2021

Intro by Alix Vollmer, Residential Warranty Services, Inc.

Recently, one of the biggest stories in news is the impeachment of former President Donald Trump. If you’ve been following the hearings, or if you’ve been plugged in at any point recently, you’ve seen the innumerable videos taken by those at the Capitol, clearly identifying themselves and others throughout the day. One man in particular was particularly memorable because he chose to wear his employee badge and lanyard, which clearly listed his name and his employer's name, while storming the halls of the Capitol.

Since that day, many of those identified as being present have faced employment consequences, primarily firings, which many have espoused as 'contrary to their first amendment rights' as they had only meant to attend a political rally. While the above situation has been properly classified as a riot, leaving the lines more clearly drawn, it does beg the question: when does an employee’s behavior off the clock warrant their employer taking action? Who makes the decision as to whether someone’s presence at a political event, protest, counter-protest, or any event that escalates warrant a reprisal from their employer? A recent Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart article discusses this exact issue and details what rights companies have with regards to employees’ actions off-the-clock.

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