As we have noted in a number of our posts, being the victim of discrimination in the workplace can be a traumatic experience. On the one hand, you may despise how you have been treated, and you are certainly ready for it to stop. On the other hand, you need the job so you can meet your financial burdens, so walking off the job may not be an option, and being fired can be devastating.
People may not be concerned with the holiday shopping season right now. After all, it is the middle of October, and most retailers are focusing on moving Halloween decorations and candy. But soon enough, hiring for the holiday season will begin in earnest. When that happens, it is very likely that some employers will take advantage of eager, yet naïve workers and ask them to work “off the clock.”
Indeed, in most white-collar professions there is an expectation of professionalism; both in appearance and how one conducts themselves. But who has the right to determine what is “professional” and what is not? This is a question decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit stemming from a case where a job applicant was given a job offer only to have it rescinded when she would not cut her dreadlocks.
Most employees already understand the bounds of free speech in the workplace. After all, the First Amendment is one of the bedrock principles of our society. So while speech in the workplace is afforded a great deal of protection, it is not absolute, and employees must realize that there are limits.