Zanpod Feed Case Study

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Monday, Feb. 05, 1996 ZIPPED LIPS By Barbara Ehrenreich TIME Magazine EARLIER THIS MONTH A FELLOW NAMED SAM YOUNG was fired from his grocery-store job for wearing a Green Bay Packers T shirt. All right, this was Dallas, and it was a little insensitive to flaunt the enemy team's logo on the weekend of the N.F.C. championship game, but Young was making the common assumption that if you stay away from obscenity, libel or, perhaps in this case, the subject of groceries, it is a free country, isn't it? Only problem was he had not read the First Amendment carefully enough: it says government cannot abridge freedom of expression. Private employers can, on a whim, and they do so every day. On Jan. 10, for instance, a Peoria, Illinois, man was…show more content…
Unless their contract says otherwise, they can be fired "for any reason or no reason"--except when the firing can be shown to be discriminatory on the basis of race, sex or religion. In addition, a few forms of "speech," such as displaying a union logo, are protected by the National Labor Relations Act, and the courts may decide this makes Caterpillar's crackdown illegal. But the general assumption is, any expansion of workers' rights would infringe on the apparently far more precious right of the employer to fire "at will." So the lesson for America's working people is: If you want to talk, be prepared to walk. Obviously there are reasonable restrictions on an employee's freedom of speech. A switchboard operator should not break into Tourette's-like torrents of profanity; likewise, professors probably should be discouraged from screaming at students or presenting their loopier notions as historical fact. But it's hard to see how a Green Bay Packers T shirt could interfere with the stocking of Pop-Tarts or how a union sticker would slow the tightening of a tractor's axle. When employers are free to make arbitrary and humiliating restrictions, we're saying democracy ends, and dictatorship begins, at the factory

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