Is Personal Political Protest a Fireable Offense?

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It seems every day we see forms of protest in the news as well as an argument against their validity or respectability. But can your personal political protests stand as grounds for a fireable offense?


Let’s go over how and some examples.

Example 1: Juli Briskman

After a photo of Juli Briskman flipping off the presidential motorcade on her bike went viral, she was fired from her job in communications at Akima LLC. Now, most people would be very stunned by her workplaces reaction and might even think that it was aggressive but here’s their reasoning. Akima has a strict Social Media policy because they are a government contracted company. The policy states that employees must refrain from posting anything lewd or obscene on their personal social media profiles. (Read the full article here)

Another reason why this hand gesture would be considered a fireable offense is that this happened in the state of Virginia, which is an employment-at-will state. This basically means that an employer can fire anyone at any time for no reason.

Therefore, although we might think that a hand gesture might not be deserving of losing a job over, it is backed by the law. It is always important to understand your companies social media policies to avoid situations like this.

For an informative blog about other ways social media posts can be a fireable offense, click here.


Example 2: NFL players kneeling a fireable offense?

NFL player, Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest of kneeling during the national anthem, has caused quite an uproar in the media. But when the football player went unsigned, the question remained “can NFL players legally be fired by team owners for participating in an on the field political protest?”

In short answer, absolutely.

And here’s why.

The 1st Amendment (which what was everyone’s go-to defense) only protects him by the sanction of government, not a team or employer affiliation. The player’s rights are determined by the contract by which he plays and any existing team policies. The grey area in this situation exists on your personal reaction to the protest in the first place. Most contracts include a clause that states that as a public figure, players should not engage in any activity that would deteriorate that respect by the general public. But who exactly determines if this act was “respectable” or not is the controversy. (Read more here)


If you have any questions or concerns regarding political protests as a fireable offense, please contact your employment lawyer at the Law Office of Richard N. Grey at (818) 345-9780



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