General Counsel Freedom to Read Foundation Washington, District of Columbia
Library workers frequently report employers restricting speech in the workplace. Some employers have been accused of monitoring library workers’ social media, taking retaliatory action for union organizing activities and statements on political speech, and even for wearing clothing that promotes social justice issues. This session, hosted by the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, will discuss the ability of library workers to express their political beliefs and personal identity on the job through their dress and speech. What free speech rights do library workers have in the workplace and what restrictions can employers impose? What if the restrictions seem focused on your culture or religious belief? What about speech made on your own free time or on your personal social media? What are the legal issues around pro-unionizing speech? Or sharing concerns about working conditions? Can your employer restrict what can be seen on video chats during the course of your work? This session will also review legal restrictions imposed by federal and state law Hatch Acts as well as the use of tax funds to underwrite political speech.
Upon completion, participants will be able to identify the laws and regulations governing what free expression rights employees have in the workplace.
Upon completion, participants will have the tools to craft policies that allow for free expression in the workplace.