Friday, December 12, 2008

Racist Comments: Off-Duty and Not to Co-Workers?

Employment attorney John Phillips looks at a case that raises significant issues:

It’s clear that your employees can’t make racist remarks at work or direct them toward coworkers. If an employee does this, he can be disciplined or fired. What if the remarks are put in writing while an employee isn’t at work and mailed to random people across the country? Can he still be disciplined or fired?

As reported by the Columbus Dispatch, there’s a new lawsuit that may provide an answer. An employee of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency was fired after he sent letters with racist comments to hundreds of college students at Ohio State, Notre Dame and the University of Rhode Island. He’s filed sued, claiming that his discharge violated his free speech rights.

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