Can I Be Fired for Storming the Capitol or Other Free Speech?

By Jack Tuckner, Esq. 

The question is, can you be fired for your free speech and or/for storming the capitol. And the answer is almost certainly yes, unfortunately. If you work for a private company you can be fired by your employer at anytime for any reason or absolutely no reason at all. The employer doesn’t need a good reason to fire you – they don’t have to give you a notice and they don’t have to give you written or verbal warnings. You can be fired at the whims of the employer and certainly you don’t really have free-speech protections, unless you work for a government employer.

If you’re a government employee, or a member of the union that sets out certain rules and the collective bargaining agreement of the reasons and the steps that must be taken before you are fired, they may have to jump through some hoops to get you terminated. But likely if you stormed the Capitol or if you’ve engaged in speech that the employer deems unbecoming to your role or misconduct or criminal for that matter, the employer will not have much of a difficult time firing you then, for cause.

But for over 90% of us, the answer is you don’t have, we don’t have the right to free speech if your employer does not like the speech that you are making, whether you are on social media or in public, or in private in the workplace, or anywhere else for that matter. If it becomes known to them, they can let you go. The only rule is that, if you are being treated differently in the workplace, if you are experiencing discrimination based on your race, your color, your ethnicity, your age, your religion, your disability, your sex, and anything related to any of those types of categories – you took a protected leave for disability or maternity leave – that’s another story, and then you have protections under Federal, State and your city’s law. But not because of things that you have said that your employer doesn’t like, and certainly not for entering the Capitol without authorization or permission.

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