The First Amendment – If You Didn’t Just Google What That One Is, You’re Ahead of the Curb.

Many moons ago, my parents were terrified of my twin brother and I getting a MySpace. They thought that someone would track us down and kill us (because no one in their right mind would want to take us and keep us). The logical question is, who is dumb enough to put their address on MySpace or now more likely Facebook? Who doesn’t just use the default privacy settings and why would you turn off all privacy settings? 

Well, those people who answers those questions differently then the rest of us and end up on the 9 o’clock news for being killed or kidnapped by some guy who should have been on To Catch A Predator are out there. There numbers may be shrinking, and some might argue that it’s just a case of Darwin’s survival of the fittest, but they’re still out there. 

 

Employers today are now like my parents towards their employees. Worried that if they get online some horrible, horrible things will happen to them – except in this case it isn’t some To Catch A Predator middle-aged man coming to get them, it’s their own employees.

Who hasn’t heard the stories now about boss’ firing people for things they say over Facebook about work sucking or hating their boss. Or employees lashing back at their employers over social media to make their abuses known and public. A recent policy adapted by the Kansas Board of Regents, really in all aspects, laughs at any employee’s first amendment rights. Long story short (read more here if you really, really want to) the decision to do so is based off of the 2006 ruling of Garcetti v. Ceballos which involving a California prosecutor fired over an internal memo critical of the way the police department handled evidence. This precedent has been dubiously applied to many other cases brought before courts. The Supreme Court even has gone to great lengths stating that speech which “concerned the subject matter” of an employee’s work (which remains highly protected) versus speech “pursuant to” official duties, which Garcetti left unprotected. In essence, had Gracetti sent the same message by free will on Facebook his speech would have, in all likelihood, been protected – since he was directed to send the memo for a work purpose and to another employee(s) his speech is not protected.

The Kansas Board of Regents is using this to say that any negative comments posted by faculty in any posting whether personal blog, scientific journal, or anything else you can imagine, could be grounds for punishment or termination.

God bless our education system. 

 

Surely the private world is better right?
The private sector knows how to use social media for good, past blocking Facebook, Twitter and FarmVille for employees so they can still be productive – they haven’t lost all hope right?

Well, thanks to my friend Derek Smart for sharing this visual article with me, you can lose all hope right along side me. Enjoy.

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