It is well known that the First Amendment mentions the freedom of speech in America. For those unfamiliar with the amendment, the exact wording is, 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.' This is something many Americans hold, as their given right in the constitution. What happens when your right is taken away, and you get punished for it in the workplace though? While many use social media and this right to perhaps say too much, some businesses have taken it upon themselves to attempt to limit the freedom of speech their employees have.

Work Places Limiting Freedom of Speech

Credit: Kristina Flour on Unsplash
Credit: Kristina Flour on Unsplash

Work is tough and when you spend so many hours day after day and week after week around the same people, in the same location, there are bound to be days that are tougher than others. Work fatigue is a real thing, and it can take its toll on people. At times, you need to be able to vent and express your frustration. It is tough to go through life and not let it out from time to time. Despite businesses wanting everyone to act like a Disney character, it isn't realistic. Sometimes it is nice to vent to another coworker because they are the only ones who can truly understand your frustrations and what you go through daily at work. This is common practice and has been for years, but what do you do when your workplace decides to put a stop to complaining at work? 

Work Places Controlling Employees


Everyone should be able to vent, and while waiting to do it outside of the workplace is the best idea, venting to a trusted coworker is nice too. At times, a person in management may hear an employee's frustrations, and depending on the manager and what the complaints are, they may let it slide. Other times, they may call the person in for a meeting or, in severe cases, run it up the ladder to their boss. When an employer decides to tell employees that they can not vent their frustrations to one another, this is taking away the employee's freedom of speech and is wrong. A friend of mine is dealing with this at work, and it has created an uproar and a toxic work environment because it is putting a clear line in the sand between management and employees. This does not make for a healthy work environment for anybody and begs the question of does a business have the right to attempt to take away your First Amendment at work. 

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If you find yourself in a situation like my friend, you have a few options. You can decide to stick it out and play along with your employer's rules, or perhaps you look around and decide that you rather work elsewhere. You could try going to the compliance office or HR, but each circumstance is different and would depend on what is taking place. In a society where everyone can express their opinions online, you should be able to express your frustration verbally and to your coworkers as well. There is a line you can't cross, but if it is only venting respectably, then your freedom of speech should be allowed.

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