Speechless

Speechless

The Erosion of Free Expression in the American Workplace

Book - 2007 | 1st ed
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Baker & Taylor
Cites recent events through which employees have been inappropriately reprimanded or fired for expressing their political beliefs outside of their working hours in a critical evaluation of the growing ability of corporations to censor employee free speech within the private sector.

Book News
Barry (management and sociology, Vanderbilt U.) outlines the legal, ethical, and managerial contours of free speech rights or the lack thereof in the American workplace. He discusses the constitutional "state action" doctrine that defines how rights apply differently in public and private settings and US labor law's "employment-at-will" system as key underpinnings of employer control over expressive activity. He then describes the legal evolution and status of free speech in government and private sector employment. He also explores connections between workplace speech and issues of civil rights, information technology, and work performance. He concludes that constraints on free speech by employers is a threat to more than workplace culture and individual liberty, arguing that it also poses risks for the health of civil society and deliberative democracy. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Ingram Publishing Services
A factory worker is fired because her boss disagrees with her political bumper sticker. A stockbroker feels pressure to resign from an employer who disapproves of his off-hours political advocacy. A flight attendant is grounded because her airline doesn’t like what she’s writing in her personal blog. Is it legal to fire people for speech that makes employers uncomfortable, even if the content has little or nothing to do with their job or workplace? For most American workers, the alarming answer is yes.

Here, Bruce Barry reveals how employers and courts are eroding workers’ ability to express themselves on and off the job—with damaging consequences for individuals, their employers, and civil society as a whole. He explains how the law and accepted management practice stifle free speech on the job, why employers make repressive choices, and what workers can do to protect themselves. And he shows that not only are our rights as employees being diminished, but also our effectiveness as citizens—as participants in the civic conversations that make democracy work.
A factory worker is fired because her boss dislikes the political bumper sticker on her car in the parking lot. Another is canned after refusing to display an American flag at his workstation. A stockbroker is pressured into resigning by an employer who disapproves of his off-work political activities. A manager gets the ax because of his online essay about homosexuality. A flight attendant is grounded because her airline doesn' t like what she' s writing in her personal blog. Is it legal to fire people for expressing themselves, even when it' s unrelated to performing their jobs? Can you lose your job because of a bumper sticker? For many American workers, the answer is yes, indeed. In ""Speechless,"" Bruce Barry confronts the state of free speech in the American workplace. He shows how employers and courts are eroding workers' abilities to express themselves on and off the job, with damaging consequences for individuals, their employers, and civil society as a whole. In defense of free speech in and around the workplace, Barry argues that the experience of liberty in a free society, as well as in life, in general, depends in part on the experience of liberty at work.


Publisher: San Francisco : Berrett-Koehler Publishers, c2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 1576753972 (hardcover)
9781576753972 (hardcover)
Branch Call Number: 323.443097 BAR
Characteristics: 287 p. ; 24 cm

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