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Where Free Speech Goes to Die: The Workplace

Where Free Speech Goes to Die: The Workplace
Photograph by Brandon Robbins/Getty Images

In America you can say pretty much whatever you want, wherever you want to say it. Unless, that is, you’re at work. Simply put, there is no First Amendment right to “free speech” in the workplace—potentially perilous for many employees in a polarized political year with a tight presidential race.

Current news provides plenty of examples of just how much leeway managers have to limit their workers’ freedom of speech, or to encourage political activity among employees. On Aug. 2, an Arizona-based medical supplies manufacturer, Vante, dismissed CFO Adam Smith for berating a Tucson Chick-fil-A employee for working at what he considered a homophobic company. Chick-fil-A has made national headlines recently for its president’s controversial comments about same-sex marriage.