Rude Political Gesture Outside Of Work Leads To Discrimination Lawsuit
Social media social media has become so integrated into most people’s daily lives that it’s almost taken for granted. Behaviors, whether online or off, however, can affect not only the hireability of a potential candidate but can cause a person to lose their job if that behavior is illegal or outside of the values of the company that an employee works for.
In an article that appeared on Workforce.com, Jon Hyman, partner at Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis in Cleveland, OH reports about the woman on the bicycle who was shown “giving the bird” to President Trump’s motorcade. The photo went viral and even though the woman’s gesture that was captured and was seen around the world was done on a public road and on her own time, the woman identified as Juli Briskman lost her job as a result.
Briskman has filed suit against her former employer in Virginia State court claiming that her employer had forced her to resign from her job for fear that as a government contractor, the company would potentially suffer consequences because of what she had done. The government and the United States Constitution protect the right of free speech, including topics of public interest without fearing retaliation for political speech.
Hyman has doubts as to whether this case has legal merit. It will be interesting to see if the plaintiff, Briskman will win out, or if her employer will maintain the right to dismiss her after she engaged in behavior that might be considered offensive.