Wisconsin workers who are not covered by collective bargaining agreements may find that their at-will status limits their freedom to speak freely on the job. However, the ability of at-will employers to limit employee speech may be declining. In an at-will scenario, both employer and employee supposedly have the right to terminate employment without reason or for any reason. However, free speech concerns have come to the forefront in light of high-profile incidents.
Social media adds another facet to the debate over free speech in the workplace in light of a recent case involving the firing of employees for making posts related to criticism from a co-worker. The National Labor Relations Act permits discussion of terms and conditions of employment by employees. This has become particularly significant in scenarios which previously prevented employees from discussing salaries and other terms of employment.
A worker who believes that an employer may have infringed on their rights may be unsure about how to deal with the consequences. Consulting an attorney with experience in employment law may help in discerning the significance of the actions and considering possible remedies.
Source: Bloomberg BNA, "Employer Ability to Silence Employee Speech Narrowing in Private Sector, Attorneys Say", Martin Berman-Gorvine, May 14, 2014