Why the next thing you say or do at work, could get you fired

Posted at 3:39 PM, Sep 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 16:42:13-04

President Trump has been clear in his words and his tweets as of late.  Professional athletes who kneel during the National Anthem should be fired.

While the issue is polarizing, is it really something an employee can be fired for?

Tampa employment attorney Shaina Thorpe says the short answer is, ‘yes’.

“If you work for a private sector employer, then you can be fired for exercising what would otherwise be considered free speech,” said Thorpe.

Thorpe says the NFL is a perfect example.

"Those individuals have every right to exercise their free speech, and likewise, the NFL has the right to either support that or they could fire that person," said Thorpe.

That raises the question many people have been asking though, what about the right of free speech?

"The first amendment is something that prevents the Government from limiting free speech,” said Thorpe. “And that's why I limited it to private sector employers."

What about those conversations you may or may not be having around the workplace?

"An employer can fire an employee for things they don’t like them saying and this is not going to be popular, but a private sector employer could terminate an employee if they don't like their political beliefs," said Thorpe.

Living in Florida complicates things a little more.

"Florida is an at will employment state, which means you can terminate an employee for any reason, as long as it’s not an unlawful reason," said Thorpe.

Thorpe said what does work in the favor of employees is the old adage, there can’t be rules for some and not rules for others.  That said, what about social media?  Can employees get in trouble for what they write on social media?

Yes, they can.

"An employer can discipline or terminate that employee, but that's at that employer’s own risk because that employer might find itself in the middle of a National Labor Relations Act violation," said Thorpe.