You are saying to fire them for expressing their opinions, even though they did not do it in a manner so as to represent the company? Simply because now that they've been exposed, it is bringing bad publicity to the company? Or are you saying to fire them only if they engaged in violence? This is like flag-burning. It is wrong. Make no mistake about it. But suppressing free speech is wrong. If the company has no policies in place to address off duty conduct, how can they fire them? Participatory democracy should not be stifled, no matter how much we might disagree with the opinions.
I will begin my post by saying I am not a lawyer. This writing is based on my layman’s understanding and interpretation of the US Constitution. The topic of free speech is very near and dear to my heart. You see, I was born in Cuba. We left the country when I was ten years with no money, no job, no home, but in America, we would have freedom. Every American citizen has the right to free speech. In addition, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that the First Amendment also protects the right to conduct a peaceful public assembly. Whether or not an employer can fire someone for taking part in a peaceful public assembly; absent an employment contract it is employment at will so the employer can fire th employee for any reason including no reason. Now whether it is a smart thing to do I think depends on the circumstances. For starters, Charlottesville was not a peaceful assembly. Three people died and several were hurt. However, assuming a person is not involved in violence or vandalism and was not wearing clothing that would tie him/her to an specific company or organization, the employer may be opening itself for a big fat wrongful termination suit.
Everyone has their beliefs and are welcome to share with others. They shouldn't loose their job because of them unless they are sharing those beliefs with customers while working. In my opinion folks should share their beliefs a little less.....but i digress.
Eric, could you explain more in depth - employment at will vs. Off the job free speech?
Step 1: Make sure you've got the right guy. http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/08/17/543980653/kyle-quinn-hid-at-a-friend-s-house-after-being-misidentified-on-twitter-as-a-rac?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20170817