Articles Tagged with Orange County wrongful termination

When a man who refused to give up his seat on a full plane was allegedly rough handled by security and dragged off the plane, the public became enthralled with the story. There were campaigns to boycott the legacy carrier and a seemingly endless supply of memes.  This all came about as a result of the alleged incident being captured by a passenger on his or her smartphone video camera.

AirplaneThese days, it seems there are cameras everywhere.  While there may have been witnesses describing such an event to a news reporter in the past, nothing sparks the public interest and, in this case, outrage more than a video clip of the incident on one’s Facebook feed or on a news organization’s web feed.

This can be used as critical evidence when an employee’s job is on the line. However, it’s important to remember that sometimes clips can be taken out-of-context. That alone doesn’t necessarily mean wrongful termination occurred. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act protects workers from wrongful termination, but California is still an at-will employment state.

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One of the most dearly held rights Americans have is stated in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: The right of free speech.

It allows us to speak our minds without fear of government infringement. microphone

But that’s just the thing: It pertains to government infringement, not infringement by private companies. And what’s more, if the government is the employer, the worker may be limited in what he or she can say without facing termination as well.

The circumstances under which speech may be protected will be based on the kind and purpose of the speech. So for example, if a worker for an airline speaks out about a major safety concern that’s been ignored by company officials, that could be considered protected speech because it is carried out in the interest of public safety. That worker may even have whistleblower protection. However, if that same worker puts the airline CEO on blast on the worker’s social media page, that might not be protected, and the company could have the right to take adverse employment action. Continue reading