Wednesday, August 17, 2005


From SemiMBA's blog I learned about this statute, one I find sadly necessary sometimes.

But let's go beyond lawsuits. Should a publicly-held (or even a private) company be able to fire you for something you publish on your blog, or for using a competitor's product, or any other such non-work-related item? In short, my opinion is yes, they should be able to. No companies as identified above should be required to have anyone work for them that they don't want to work there. Yes, it's a little different for government employees--the 1st Amendment doesn't apply to corporations, just governments, for example.

There are some legal reasons a company cannot fire you--you're too old (except in some positions), you're the wrong skin color, etc. Those are law, and companies must abide by them. However, it's important to remember that companies exist for one reason and one reason only--to make money. They don't exist as social service organizations, although too many people expect them to be.

While I personally would give wide legal latitude to companies in the arena of hiring and firing, I'd hope they'd use this latitude judiciously. But there's a tremendous difference between what companies should do and what they should be allowed to do by law.


Walter E. Wallis said...

Back before we had laws about such things, we routinely withheld our buainess from companies with racist or sexist policies.

Darren said...

In other words, you let the invisible hand of the market deal with the problem. That is my solution as well.

Phyllis S said...

Your last sentence is one we hear in this 'Right to Work' state, paraphrased.

The 'Right to Work' law is a shield that is intended to protect both worker and employer, not a club for the employer to use at will.

I'm very careful about anything work-related I post on my blog. Why I bother, I don't know, since I'm likely the only person in a 30-mile radius who even knows what a blog is, but since this isn't a post about the relative merits or lack thereof of living in Tinyville (stone's throw from Hooterville), I'll save it for another time.

Used to be, you didn't have to fire people for this kind of stuff, because they knew what the right thing to do (or not do) was and they did it. Today, not so much.

Darren said...

I *don't* live in a Right To Work state, which explains my union membership. But I still have some pretty secure safeguards when it comes to being fired for what I write on this blog. Then again, I work for a government agency (bound by the 1st Amendment), not a private company.