Employers, Employees, and Free Expression

From the Washington Post:

In the hours after Barbara Bush died Tuesday, even those who didn’t share the former first lady’s political views expressed their condolences and recounted warm memories of the Bush family matriarch.

But a creative writing professor at California State University at Fresno had a blunt message for those offering up fond remembrances:

“Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal,” Randa Jarrar wrote Tuesday night on Twitter, according to the Fresno Bee.

In another tweet, the professor wrote: “I’m happy the witch is dead. can’t wait for the rest of her family to fall to their demise the way 1.5 million iraqis have. byyyeeeeeee.”

None of this is remotely surprising to anyone familiar with political discourse in the US over the past ten years. The story continues:

Jarrar’s words — and others that she used as she argued with critics for hours during an overnight tweetstorm — sparked a backlash that would soon prompt the university to distance itself from her remarks.

School officials also said they were reviewing the tenured professor’s position, and the university’s president and provost have rebuked Jarrar.

The professor taunted those attacking her, sharing a contact number that was that of Arizona State University’s suicide hotline, and said she was a tenured professor who makes $100,000 a year.

“I will never be fired,” she tweeted.

Fresno State originally responded to the controversy with a statement by Castro that said Jarrar’s words were “obviously contrary to the core values of our University” but that they “were made as a private citizen.”

Leaving aside comments from the masses on Twitter, almost every prominent conservative commentator who has weighed in on this has specifically said she should not be fired. This is good: as I’ve argued in the context of Juli Briskman flipping the bird to Trump’s motorcade, I don’t think employers should have the right to fire employees for political (or any) remarks they make in private without first demonstrating actual, lasting commercial or reputational damage has been done to the organisation as a direct result. American lawyer Ken White, who goes by the name of Popehat on Twitter, has done a good lawsplainer on the Jarrar case, which is further complicated because the government is her employer. It’s worth reading in full, but here are the bits I found most interesting:

Generally, the First Amendment prevents only the government, not your employer, from punishing you for your speech. But what if the government is your employer? Well, then the First Amendment offers you some protection from being punished by your employer for your speech. That protection is governed by a multi-stage analysis.

The second stage of the analysis is another question: was the government employee acting as a private citizen, or as part of their job duties? If they were speaking as part of their job duties, the First Amendment doesn’t protect them.

Here, it seems clear that Professor Jarrar was not tweeting in the course of her duties as a professor. She was apparently on leave at the time and the scope of her duties do not include Twitter. Fresno State proclaimed in a tweet that she was speaking in her private capacity. (That was a clear reference to this analytical structure.)

So, the law recognises the difference between speech delivered as part of their job duties and that of a private citizen. This is important.

The third stage of the analysis involves a balancing test: the interest of the public employee against the interest of the public employer in promoting the efficient delivery of public services. This is by far the most touchy-feely part of the analysis. Can the government employer show that the speech in question so disrupted the workplace that it interfered with orderly business in a way that outweighs the employee’s speech rights?

And this for me is the crucial test that ought to apply to any employer who wishes to terminate the contract of an employee for speech which is wholly unrelated to their duties or profession. Today this only applies if the government is the employer, but I’d like to see this applied more widely as a matter of straightforward contract law. Popehat concludes:

Professor Jarrar was speaking as a private individual on a matter of public interest. It would be difficult for Fresno State to establish that the tweets about Barbara Bush themselves caused the sort of disruption of the school’s business that so outweighs her free speech interests so that it would justify her termination.

Which I agree with.

Now some of you will argue that Jarrar’s comments bring Fresno into disrepute, as many people now see what sort of morons that insinuation employs as professors. This is entirely correct, but it’s not the employee’s fault; the problem is the university for hiring morons as professors in the first place, not the employee for acting like a moron in a private capacity. Fresno obviously has no problem hiring people like Jarrar, and probably encourages opinions like hers in their lecture halls while simultaneously culturing an atmosphere which is openly hostile to conservatives. Their problem is this has now been widely exposed and they’re being subject to ridicule, but I don’t see why the employee should bear the brunt of this. If a university wants to go around hiring lunatics, they can’t then blame the lunatics for publicly expressing opinions which are met with approval in the privacy of their own corridors. Note that Fresno seemed quite happy with Jarrar and her performance until this episode, so why would they fire her?

I expect as time goes on and we see more instances of employees being dismissed for expressing unapproved opinions in a private capacity, many cases will reveal enormous failings on the part of the management who should not have hired this person in the first place, or should have got rid of them for professional reasons years ago. If the employee is good, his or her private opinions shouldn’t matter. But the same is true if the employee is poor. Most of this is the result of weak or bad management, which appears to be widespread. It’s time it was improved.

Share

46 thoughts on “Employers, Employees, and Free Expression

  1. This is what free speech is about.

    Morons and unpleasant people expressing unsavoury opinions in the full view of the world.

    As for this persona and Fresno. I agree. She is the type of person they want and they got her in spades.

    You design your institution like that and we get to see where you are. Thanks Fresno.

  2. Of course she should not be fired for expressing her views, however vile.

    She should however be made redundant as a consequence of the closing of university’s creative writing department, so that it can no longer defraud students (or more likely the taxpayer, not sure who ends up on the hook for defaults on student loans).

  3. “And this for me is the crucial test that ought to apply to any employer who wishes to terminate the contract of an employee for speech which is wholly unrelated to their duties or profession.”

    I have to disagree.

    If I, as an employer, have hired someone upon whose shoulders I am going to place some of my organizational risk and reputation, then I am going to continually use all of the data from any source I can find about that person to continually re-assess my trust in her.

    I’m not talking about burger flippers or janitors or waitstaff or whoever on up to low-mid-level. I’m talking about people who I trust to make good and significant decisions.

    And if I hear of one of my people making obnoxious public announcements like this – whether it be about Barbara Bush or Chelsea Clinton or whoever – I will take that into account as I consider the wisdom of continuing our relationship. Not for the politics, but for the lack of discretion and judgment shown.

  4. If I, as an employer, have hired someone upon whose shoulders I am going to place some of my organizational risk and reputation, then I am going to continually use all of the data from any source I can find about that person to continually re-assess my trust in her.

    Does this work in both directions? At a crucial point, any employee can walk out on their contract, citing your Facebook postings as the reason?

    Not for the politics, but for the lack of discretion and judgment shown.

    With respect, if your judgement on whether an employee is good at their job is based on their private opinions, you’re probably not a very good manager. If this judgement is made after you’ve seen them work and perform to (presumably) acceptable standards, it makes you a bad manager.

    There are many aspects of people’s personal lives which bring their judgement into question. Extra-marital affairs for example, or supporting Liverpool FC. I’m old-fashioned enough to gauge people’s judgement in a work context on what they have delivered and how they behave while at work.

  5. She should however be made redundant as a consequence of the closing of university’s creative writing department,

    Yes.

  6. She should be fired merely because the Left’s weapons must be used against them. We just cannot afford to lose nobly anymore and let the Right be fired for comments a tiny fraction as offensive as these, but let the Left get away with it.

    Free speech for both sides, or no free speech for both sides. When the Left regularly gets fired for stuff like this they might start thinking free speech for everyone is a good idea again.

  7. Generally speaking I would agree with private speech and private capacity, except that if the politics were different – celebrating the death of Hillary Clinton, with similar sentiments – I think the offending tweeter would be out of a job and subject to a slew of court cases.
    Shouldn’t the horrid bunch of lefties live up to the rules they want to impose on others?

  8. The significant bit is that she tweeted “I will never be fired,” so despite any claims by the woman or the employer that she was acting in a private capacity, she is drawing the employer into the discussion on her side and potentially associating the institution and its students with her views.

    I should have thought that was sailing close to the wind.

  9. Free speech for both sides, or no free speech for both sides. When the Left regularly gets fired for stuff like this they might start thinking free speech for everyone is a good idea again.

    Yeah, that won’t happen. Instead the Left will protect their own while the Right go on about how it’s an employer’s right to fire whoever they like for whatever reason. I’d rather make it a lot harder for any employer to fire somebody for opinions unrelated to their job that are expressed in their capacity as private people.

  10. It’s strange. I agree with you, Tim, that she shouldn’t be fired for what she says as a private citizen, but I also agree with Rob that some consistency in this matter should be shown. Personally, I think she should be sacked, however it’s not the disgusting tweets she made about Barbara Bush for which she should be fired, but for posting the university suicide hotline as her number, and for other remarks she’s made (on what appears to be the university’s time and money) calling for people to commit acts of domestic terrorism against people like Richard Spencer. That is not something which should be devoid of consequences, in my view.

  11. but for posting the university suicide hotline as her number, and for other remarks she’s made (on what appears to be the university’s time and money) calling for people to commit acts of domestic terrorism against people like Richard Spencer.

    You are quite right: there are other things for which she probably does deserve to be reprimanded (particularly the posting of the suicide number, even if it wasn’t the university’s own one), but I didn’t mention them because the point I wanted to make was purely about expression of opinions.

  12. I would fire her but not for what she said. But because “as a consequence of the closing of university’s creative writing department, so that it can no longer defraud students (or more likely the taxpayer, not sure who ends up on the hook for defaults on student loans).”

    I have seen some of her talks, she is a subliterate moron. Her presence is a disgrace in a disgraceful dept.

  13. In tweeting as a known employee, should this be regarded as advertising? Surely there should be some penalty for bringing your employer into disrepute? Assuming of course that the employer thinks this makes them look bad- for all I know they think her speech perfectly acceptable.
    I doubt that an employee of any other company would long be tolerated if their speech looked like damaging the bottom line.

  14. Surely there should be some penalty for bringing your employer into disrepute?

    Yes, but the onus should be on the employer to demonstrate actual disrepute resulting in actual damage.

  15. Her being a government employee makes this tricky, but then again the government shouldn’t be employing so many damned people anyway.

    Were she my employee I’d fire her, or not fire her, at my own damned pleasure since, you know, I own the company and by extension that job. And can she walk out any time for any reason as well? Sure. Happens all the f*cking time.

    You advocate for giving government more power (here in terms of labor regulations), private property and freedom of association be damned, in order to fight the Left Monolith on their terms, forgetting that the Left owns the government and it’s many tentacles. The only solution is to DISMANTLE the government, at all levels but especially education, and not throw away principles while giving your enemies more power. It’s not easy, but nobody promised it would be. Prepare for the shooting war in the meantime.

  16. Nastiness and insensitivity are traditional hallmarks of the exciting new Left, so I am not the least surprised what was said. It’s almost as if it’s just another round of ‘lookatme, lookatme’ virtue-signalling to the stupid in the great game of social frippery.

  17. Were she my employee I’d fire her, or not fire her, at my own damned pleasure since, you know, I own the company and by extension that job.

    Okay, let’s take this a little further. You fly with an airline from London to Hong Kong, transit in Qatar. You get to Qatar, airline says “Sorry, we’re bumping you. No, we won’t tell you why. We will refund the unspent portion of your ticket within 30 days, but you’re not flying with us any further.” I suspect you’d be rather unhappy, and justifiably so.

    You advocate for giving government more power (here in terms of labor regulations)

    No I don’t: you’ve alleged this before. It’s a matter of contract law subject to a reasonableness test, not government regulations.

  18. Yeah, that won’t happen. Instead the Left will protect their own while the Right go on about how it’s an employer’s right to fire whoever they like for whatever reason. I’d rather make it a lot harder for any employer to fire somebody for opinions unrelated to their job that are expressed in their capacity as private people.

    I think Rob is being more realistic about this than you are. The left is too good at playing offense for any kind of “no fire” rules to work. They’ve gotten tenured professors fired and we thought that tenured profs were invulnerable to that sort of thing. Well, they weren’t, not when the left came after them. I think tit for tat has a better chance of working than trying to apply the First Amendment to employers.

  19. I suspect you’d be rather unhappy, and justifiably so.

    Sure would, though the world isn’t built around my feelings. If the airline had breached a contract I’d have recourse. Otherwise my only recourse is to never use that airline and broadcast my complaint as loud as possible. What I wouldn’t do is demand big daddy create a “passenger bill of rights” to punish Asshole Airlines (something actually proposed in the US IIRC).

    No I don’t: you’ve alleged this before. It’s a matter of contract law subject to a reasonableness test, not government regulations.

    Then I admit I’m not smart or informed enough to draw the distinction between advocating for more government force in private transactions and what you support. It’s the word “law” that rubs. If an employee’s contract has provisions addressing the situation in question then we agree.

  20. If the airline had breached a contract I’d have recourse.

    Breached it? They’ve cancelled it on the grounds that they owned the company so could do as they pleased.

    Otherwise my only recourse is to never use that airline and broadcast my complaint as loud as possible.

    That’s good but right now you’re in Doha airport.

    What I wouldn’t do is demand big daddy create a “passenger bill of rights” to punish Asshole Airlines

    Nor would I.

    It’s the word “law” that rubs.

    So how do you think interactions between parties should be governed if there are no laws, and no recourse to the law?

    If an employee’s contract has provisions addressing the situation in question then we agree.

    The employee’s contract is the same as the employer’s. Does it have à provision addressing the situation in question? I doubt it.

  21. I can’t get past the fact she earns $100,000 a year and is a moron. No wonder Trump got elected.

  22. That’s good but right now you’re in Doha airport.

    Yep, tough shit. You seem reluctant to name the vehicle and enforcement mechanism to achieve a better alternative to this situation.

    So how do you think interactions between parties should be governed if there are no laws, and no recourse to the law?

    The difference between exercising recourse for a breached contract and demanding a contractual provision be required by law regardless of voluntary agreements (eg obamacare coverage mandates) is a massive gulf in my opinion. But sure, reductio ad absurdum away.

    I am open to changing my mind on this but so far my fear of ever-encroaching bureaucratic power hasn’t been addressed.

  23. You seem reluctant to name the vehicle and enforcement mechanism to achieve a better alternative to this situation.

    I’ve been reluctant to name contract law? My bad, I thought I had. The enforcement mechanism is the arbitration courts.

    The difference between exercising recourse for a breached contract and demanding a contractual provision be required by law regardless of voluntary agreements

    What contractual provision required by law? You seem to think one party ought to be able to terminate a contract at any time for any reason. This might come as a surprise to you, but very few contracts work this way (indeed, there wouldn’t be much point to them if they did).

    People enter into a contract with a reasonable expectation that each party will execute their obligations under it: if they don’t, they are entitled to compensation. So unless there is a specific clause in the contract which stipulates it can be cancelled for X, then I think it’s fair that anyone cancelling the contract for a reason other than X owes the other party compensation. So if you want to be able to cancel a contract for various reasons, then by all means list them in the contract; but it’s unreasonable to think you should be free to cancel a contract for any arbitrary reason *not* listed in the contract without paying the other party compensation.

  24. Now I think I understand where you’re coming from.

    So unless there is a specific clause in the contract which stipulates it can be cancelled for X, then I think it’s fair that anyone cancelling the contract for a reason other than X owes the other party compensation.

    In the case of private employment should an employee be able to quit a job because, say, they disagree with company’s stance on gay marriage, even if it has nothing to do with their job? Should that employer be entitled to compensation for breach of contract? Would a blanket provision saying “we can fire you for any reason except those specified by law” render all this moot? After all, that more or less describes at-will employment. Honest questions, all.

  25. Well, amongst all these good discussions about where the line should be drawn let me offer the following data point; I changed employers last month and one requirement of the contract was a social media search to see whether I have expressed any opinions that contradict the current virtue signalling public position of the the corporation on any number of topics unrelated to what I’ve been hired to do.

    So they’ve solved the problem; I can be fired for expressing a “wrongthink” view.

    Of course, there is no subtlety in this so if, for example, I expressed support for the “alt right” 2 years ago when it included libertarian views but the movement has since fractured and the label now means something else less acceptable, this fact is unlikely to be considered in my defence.

  26. I do think you’ve proposed a clear cut distinction between private & as employee speech when often that line is blurred. Why is there such a furore over what this person wrote? I’m sure pretty well anyone commenting here could have twittered exactly the same words without provoking the slightest interest. Because none of us (save our exalted novelist host) have much of a public following. This rancid bint has such a following BECAUSE she’s a prof at the university. Likely wouldn’t have twattered if she hadn’t that following. She uses her position at the university to enhance her private persona.
    And I do think the nature of the employment makes a difference. If you’re employed making chair legs, what you say has bugger all relevance to the quality of legs on chairs. But if you’re being paid to spout opinions, it’s a bit hard to see where the line is between your opinions as an employee & your opinions as a private person. Is this the sort of creative writing we want from a professor of creative writing?

  27. So unless there is a specific clause in the contract which stipulates it can be cancelled for X

    …which is all employment contracts in most of Canada, which is an at-will employment jurisdiction. “Cancelled for X” generally means “with two weeks notice or pay in lieu of notice”. I admit I find our illustrious host’s position on this quite curious, as one of the largest causes of bureaucratic sclerosis is the inability to fire people at will for poor performance, poor cooperation, or other nebulous factors that nonetheless drag down a team.

    In the US, at least, the First Amendment may guarantee freedom of speech, but it also guarantees freedom of association.

  28. “the First Amendment may guarantee freedom of speech …”: no, it guarantees against government legislation against free speech. That’s half the point of this discussion thread, isn’t it?

    “Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. …” is hardly a guarantee of freedom of association, even if one thinks that the last clause was not meant to qualify the preceding clause. Presumably that’s why it’s been so easy over the years to pass all sorts of legislation denying freedom of association.

    Given that the Constitution is a fine example of writing law for the layman to understand, it’s remarkable how often it is paraphrased inaccurately: “separation of Church and State” is just another example of inaccurate paraphrasing. It’s all very odd: the bloody thing is written so well that there’s no point paraphrasing it – just quote it. The writing isn’t flawless but it’s pretty good.

  29. “With respect, if your judgement on whether an employee is good at their job is based on their private opinions . . . ”

    No, you’ve misread what I said.

    I specifically said that I would not be firing her for her opinion. That’s why I noted that it would be immaterial whether she was speaking about Barbara Bush or Chelsea Clinton.

    I would be firing her for having brought her employer into disrepute with the antagonistic, sensational “fuck you, look at meeee!” way she did it, making it clear in the process that she was an employee of the school, for which the school is now suffering.

    I don’t care what you say on line or in person, but if you say it and then sign it “employee of Bobby B’s company”, you’re gone.

  30. I agree with the sentiments expressed above about how the left apply double standards to this sort of thing (conservative/right wing professors being hounded out of their jobs whereas left wingers – no, not a spelling mistake – are not). In an ideal world, yes, indeed free speech should be allowed, no matter how repugnant but the playing field isn’t level by a long chalk. The left need to be subjected to the same pressures and standards. It is no good playing cricket and holding the bat between thumb and index finger saying “Middle stump, please” to the umpire while the opposition is mounting a belt fed, .50 calibre M2 Browing heavy machine gun on a tripod at the other stumps. Therein lies suicide and defeat. The winners get to write history, don’t you know?

    However, to get back to the creature in question. She IS damaging the University.

    As far as her giving out the suicide hot-line number as her own contact number that is far from the first time it’s happened as a campus prank. But the hot-line should present her with a bill for the expenses related to her idiocy, with an offer to go to court should she deign not to pay the money. A Denial of Service attack at the very least. So that is one quantifiable, financial loss to be laid at her door.

    There are also reports that alumni and long-time donors are considering withholding funds, or not allowing their children to attend the University. A second, unidentified at this stage, loss to the University. However, this could be calculated next year when the discrepancy in the amount of donations can be compared with the last years donations and the loss of teaching fees.

    Now in the USA, Universities have substantial (running into the billions) of equity in the way of property, bank deposits and other wealth so it is unlikely that the university will go belly up due to lack of funds. It is equally certain that the financial managers will not draw on those funds either. But a slow loss of revenue will result and may (or may not) be significant.

    It is indeed Randa Jarrar’s right to exercise her First Amendment rights to say what she likes but it is equally the donors right to not give money to the university that gave her tenure.

    For those who think it’s wrong to punish the entire University then hard cheese. Fresno University knew exactly what sort of human being they were hiring when they granted tenure to Randa Jarrar. Let them suffer the consequences WITHOUT a government bail out.

    Randa Jarrar, the administration and faculty who thought it was a Good THING (in the 1066 And All That sense) to grant her tenure should suffer the consequences of their decision as the money dries up.

  31. “Surely there should be some penalty for bringing your employer into disrepute?”

    On the contrary, I think the esteemed professor should receive some sort of whistleblower award for alerting the taxpayers on how their money is being wasted on the likes of her. And the grateful employer (the taxpayer) should then proceed to fire a certain portion of the esteemed professor’s management chain and probably her peers as well, as per results of an independent investigation. Not that I’m holding my breath, though.

  32. Andrew again on April 23, 2018 at 8:25 pm said:
    I can’t get past the fact she earns $100,000 a year and is a moron. No wonder Trump got elected.

    My sentiment exactly! I’ll type an inane comment later, after I’ve processed the fact that this dumbass, who shouldn’t be in charge of a “The Cat chased the rat” type essay for pre-schoolers, is a professor of … creative writing…. ffs!

  33. I would be firing her for having brought her employer into disrepute with the antagonistic, sensational “fuck you, look at meeee!” way she did it, making it clear in the process that she was an employee of the school, for which the school is now suffering.

    I’m at a loss to see how her specific actions have brought the school into disrepute, other than to draw attention to the fact that the school is a complete circus. Do her opinions run counter to the values of the school administration? I doubt it, and I expect if this ends up in court she’d be able to list dozens of examples of exactly these sort of sentiments being expressed and met with approval, even in lecture halls. So she’s not so much brought the school into disrepute as to draw attention to the fact that it is disreputable, which isn’t the same thing. The very fact she’s employed on $100k per year as a professor of creative writing is what’s doing the real damage here, and that’s not on her.

    I don’t care what you say on line or in person, but if you say it and then sign it “employee of Bobby B’s company”, you’re gone.

    Absolutely, but the school has already said she was speaking in a private capacity.

  34. which is all employment contracts in most of Canada, which is an at-will employment jurisdiction.

    Yes, and these are generally useful and work well until they become a vehicle for firing people who express the wrong opinions in private. At-will employment contracts only work when both sides conduct themselves in some manner of good faith: the employer won’t fire anyone for spurious reasons, and the employee won’t suddenly walk out or demand a much higher rate 24 hours before a mission-critical point which has taken 12 months of careful preparation to reach. Once either side starts taking the piss, e.g. by letting the contract be used as vehicle for disapproving of someone’s personal political opinions, they are no longer fit for purpose.

    I admit I find our illustrious host’s position on this quite curious, as one of the largest causes of bureaucratic sclerosis is the inability to fire people at will for poor performance, poor cooperation, or other nebulous factors that nonetheless drag down a team.

    Part of the reason for that is unions and political lobbying for employee protection. Now it pains me to say it, but the reason unions exist is because there was time when company management acted like complete and utter c*nts towards their employees. Then the unions got the upper hand and never let it go. The reason France has union problems is largely because the management is so appalling (this guy summed it up well). The reason Germany doesn’t have the same problems is because the management is better. In summary, if employers think they can fire people for holding the wrong political opinions, they will shortly find employees either unionising or lobbying government. Shorter version: don’t take the piss.

    In the US, at least, the First Amendment may guarantee freedom of speech, but it also guarantees freedom of association.

    So you want to enter into a contract with someone and then cite freedom of association when it becomes inconvenient? Good luck with that in court.

  35. The left need to be subjected to the same pressures and standards.

    That doesn’t work, which is why the left have won every battle in the culture wars to date. If the right could hound lefties from their jobs they’d be doing it, but they can’t so it doesn’t happen. For whatever reason, lefty is a lot better at forming mobs and bullying piss-weak management than righty is. As I said in a previous post, half the problem is when a lefty gets a righty fired, half the right line up to say that it’s all fine and dandy because companies should be able to fire people for any reason whatsoever, including if a lefty Twitter mob demands it.

    What we’re seeing here is the result of piss-poor management before, during, and after each incident. The people presiding over the situation are paid large sums of money to manage basic stuff like this, and they’re failing miserably. It is they who should be held to account, preferably by hitting them in the pocket and via the normal process of contract law.

    It is indeed Randa Jarrar’s right to exercise her First Amendment rights to say what she likes but it is equally the donors right to not give money to the university that gave her tenure.

    Indeed, but it’s not about Jarrar. Remember when it was revealed that Oxfam was basically a sex-tourism operation? People withdrew their funding not because of the behaviour of an individual, but because the story revealed the entire organisation was rotten. It’s the same thing here. Jarrar is a product, a symptom, not a cause.

  36. But if you’re being paid to spout opinions, it’s a bit hard to see where the line is between your opinions as an employee & your opinions as a private person. Is this the sort of creative writing we want from a professor of creative writing?

    I expect expressing those exact same opinions in the past is what landed her the job.

  37. In the case of private employment should an employee be able to quit a job because, say, they disagree with company’s stance on gay marriage, even if it has nothing to do with their job? Should that employer be entitled to compensation for breach of contract?

    That’s an interesting question. For largely sensible reasons, there is generally a disparity between employer and employee which allows the employee to quit for any reason and serve a short notice period, but the employer isn’t permitted to terminate the contract in the same way. But if an employee was hired for a specific, essential task and bailed at the last minute citing spurious reasons wholly unrelated to what he’s paid to do, I think it would be reasonable to pursue compensation through the courts, yes.

    Of course, whether a company should have a stance on gay marriage at all is another issue entirely. I say they’d be better off sticking to the business at hand, but this is what happens when companies start adopting “values” and policing morality.

    Would a blanket provision saying “we can fire you for any reason except those specified by law” render all this moot? After all, that more or less describes at-will employment. Honest questions, all.

    See my response to Daniel Ream. At-will employment seems to work pretty well, in the main. If companies start subjecting employees to retroactive political tests and requiring they shun making any sort of opinions in private, they’ll be outlawed in short order.

  38. Ha! “…bring Fresno into disrepute.” There is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent that. Yes, I know you meant Cal State Fresno, not the city, but if you’ve ever been to Fresno you’d know. It’s this weird agglomeration of Corporate Offices and Tijuana, the unsavory bits.

    Let her rant and rave, I suspect she’ll be out of a job soon anyway due to mental instability. Years ago people might have got upset, but these days it’s just another nutjob standing on the street corner shouting at passersby. I walk on by myself.

  39. “””…That doesn’t work, which is why the left have won every battle in the culture wars to date. If the right could hound lefties from their jobs they’d be doing it, but they can’t so it doesn’t happen. For whatever reason…”””

    Finding this reason is very central question of western world survival. Why the people of West lost their free will and are incapable to defend their countries or values ?

  40. Any contract of employment, or other company policy for that matter, is only as good as the company’s own disciplinary procedures.

  41. Any contract of employment, or other company policy for that matter, is only as good as the company’s own disciplinary procedures.

    Indeed, and the employees are often a reflection of the management.

  42. I want her to continue to speak out in Fresno State. I also want their alumni to hear her speech.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *