The First Amendment to the Constitution of the Untied States grants the right of citizens to free expression of speech and personal beliefs if done so in a peaceable manner. In spite of this constitutional right, there are times when an employer has fired workers for holding their own viewpoints on social issues. California workers who have been fired for a similar reason may have the right to file a wrongful termination claim.
Recently, a man who had held the same position for an estimated 32 years was terminated reportedly because of his own personal beliefs regarding the perceived symbolism of certain statues. The man attended a rally in his town on his personal time in support of keeping a statue of Jefferson Davis, who once served as the president of the Confederate States during the Civil War era. He was not representing his employer at the time, which is a public utility company.
Purportedly, an opponent of the statue who was also in attendance at the rally sent the man's supervisor an email that expressed disapproval of the man's presence at the rally as the writer believed it would cast a negative light on the public utility's image. Several weeks later, the man was discharged for supposedly violating the policy regarding appropriate speech and actions. This employee had no record of prior disciplinary issues over the more than three decades of employment.
The man was forced to sell his home and relocate outside of his home town in order to find suitable employment. His legal representative has stated that the man's actions on his own time are not justification for the utility company's decision to fire him. His wrongful termination claim was only recently filed in federal court and has not yet been scheduled. Whenever a California employee is a victim of adverse employer actions, he or she is entitled to seek assistance to ensure that his or her rights are upheld and that a satisfactory resolution can be obtained.
Source: localmemphis.com, "MLGW Employee Loses Job Over His Beliefs About Confederate Statue", Jeni Diprizio, Dec. 14, 2017