NFL Protests: Freedom of Speech in the Workplace?

2017-11-07T20:03:26+00:00

Few issues have generated more debate than the recent protests by NFL players. It appears that many people believe the players’ actions are protected by the First Amendment and they are therefore immune from being disciplined or terminated. The truth is, NFL players, like all private sector employees do not have a Constitutional right to free speech in the workplace. The Constitution’s right to free speech only applies when the government is attempting to restrict it.

So, private sector employers are generally free to restrict employee speech, but there are some exceptions. Employees’ protected speech under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is actually an exception to an employer’s broad rights to restrict both speech and expression at work. Section 7 of the NLRA gives employees the right to discuss wages, hours, working conditions, and organizing a union. Whistle-blowing is also protected speech, but it has to be based on the employer’s violation of a statute, such as the False Claims Act.

The experienced employment attorneys at Humble Law, LLC can assess the facts of your case and determine whether you have a claim against your employer.

Attorney Bradley Byrne

Brad Byrne is an Associate Attorney in Humble Law LLC’s Birmingham office. He represents employees whose rights have been violated. Brad can be reached via email at brad@humble.law or by phone at 205-358-3100.

Contact Bradley Byrne