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Employment Compliance Employment Litigation

The Challenges of Regulating Employee Speech

In this article, the authors discuss some recent controversies involving employee speech and the laws governing employers' ability to regulate and respond to disruptive speech in the workplace.

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When employees publicly make divisive or disruptive statements in the workplace, companies frequently consider whether they should take action to restore peace and harmony among co-workers. Within the past few months, several prominent companies have faced public scrutiny related to both disruptive employee speech and the companies’ responses to these incidents. In some circumstances, companies have chosen to discipline employees or publicly distance themselves from an individual’s personal viewpoint. In other situations, companies have declined to take action and instead affirmed their employees’ right to free speech.

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