Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Workers Rights' Groups Concerned About Employers Policing Workers' Off-Duty Behavior

Some workers rights' groups are increasingly concerned about companies disciplining or firing workers for what they do on their own time, USA Today reported Monday (June 13th). Among the things being cracked down on is employees drinking on their own time, using a competitor's product, or displaying a political bumper sticker. Some of these groups say the practice is increasing, and Lewis Maltby of The National Workrights Institute told USA Today, "The shock is that there's no legal protection. You can get fired just for having a bumper sticker the boss doesn't like."

Among recent incidents cited by USA Today are:

*An Alabama woman was fired from her job packing insulation for having a John Kerry bumper sticker on her car.
*A Colorado man who worked for a Budweiser distributor says he was fired for drinking Coors beer at a bar after work. His former employer claims he was fired for making disparaging comments about the company at the bar while wearing a company uniform.
*The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City will fire bartenders or waitresses if they gain more than 7 percent of their body weight.
*USA Today reports that about half of the states have laws that bar employers from firing workers who smoke off-duty, and that some states have passed broader protections for off-duty behavior.

Do you think employers have the right to discipline or fire workers for their off-duty behavior?


At 2:30 PM, Blogger ElexTech said...

I was in the Navy for twenty years, and, during that entire time, my off-duty behavior was subject to military oversight and control 24/7, however it never went beyond disciplinary oversight for infractions such as fighting, excessive drinking, drugs, etc. There was no restriction on political activity other than a prohibition on wearing the uniform while engaged in any political activity. If a very restrictive organization like the Navy can allow people to have and voice their personal opinions while off duty without that organization imploding, then there's no good reason for any civilian employer to play the part of the thought police.

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Sick Boy said...

I too am retired from the Navy. There are rules and regulations to ensure good order and discipline. However, I served with the Marine Corps, as a Corpsman (medic). The Marine's were even more strict; better unit cohesion. The military also instills CORE VALUES. Something, if implemented by a civilian company would be challenged by the ACLU or some other "watch dog" group. Disney has a grand idea of "Casting". If you don't fit the "role" then see you later. Private companies have the right to be more discerning. However, they are governed by Civil Law, whereas the military has the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), a code designed to convict. Private time, off duty, in your home; you should be allowed to do whatever you want provided it is LEGAL. The flip of course, some organizations require a HIGHER DEGREE OF HONOR; Police, Sheriff, Fire, and other Public SERVANTS. After all is said and done, after all of life's journeies, after all of the money is made; all you have in the end is Honor and family. Go Navy! Beat Army!

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Nicole Weeks said...

I also forgot to mention when I called in to the show on this....

Like when a flight attendent gets too fat to fit down the airplane's aisle comfortably, without having to turn sideways, and without bumping into anyone's shoulders... she gets a warning and 30 days to make progress on the weight loss, or she gets fired.

The same goes for law enforcement who are supposed to be able to jump fences chasing after suspects. Obviously this one isn't enforced because Orange County Sheriff's are some of the fattest I've seen.

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