“You Can’t Fire Me -That Violates My First Amendment Rights”

Photo courtesy of Tracy Le Blanc

“Yes, they can” said the Third Appellate district in Hall v. Kosei St. Marys Corporation, 2023-Ohio-2021, to an employee terminated for a racist posting placed on the employee’s personal Facebook page. When several co-workers complained of the posting to the employer, the employee was terminated. The appellate court held that the First Amendment protected speech was protected only against “state action” and that a violation of public policy termination claim could not be made against a private employer. While certain speech may be protected, purely First Amendment protected speech cannot give rise to an actionable public policy claim against your employer.

Written by Partner Keith Savidge.
For what your employees can and cannot say consult any member of SSEG’s Employment Law Group.