WASHINGTON (SBG) – Last month, literary agent Colleen Oefelein was fired from her New York agency for using conservative social media platforms Parler and Gab. But can your employer legally fire you for what you say on social media?
“Yes, your employer can,” said Chicago attorney Karen Conti to The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat Thursday morning. “If you’re an employee-at-will, the boss can make the rules as long as they’re not discriminatory against a certain ethnic group or gender, etc.”
“Is that good for employee morale? Probably not,” said Conti.
Another thing your employer may be able to do if you’re an employee-at-will: make you return to the office during the pandemic. Chicago teachers are facing just that issue, with thousands of Chicago Public School teachers currently refusing to return to in-person schooling.
“If you’re an employee-at-will, that means your boss can make rules and you have to follow them and go back to work,” said Conti. “But in the Chicago case of teachers, there’s a union contract to protect them. The union is saying it’s not safe to go back to schools, so therefore they’re not going back, so now there has to be a negotiation.”
Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers union have not agreed to a deal as of Thursday morning. On the table for negotiation is a possible deal to vaccinate 1,500 teachers a week.
When it comes to vaccinations, Conti says targeting certain groups to receive the vaccine first, such as teachers, isn’t an example of vaccine discrimination.
“As long as the government is not targeting certain groups and withholding, they can make priorities, they can say the prisoners need to get it first, or the frontline workers, or people over 70,” said Conti. “If there’s science, and this is going to help stop the spread, the government can pick and choose groups. They can’t do it based on race, ethnicity, gender, and those types of things.”