Your Freedom Of Speech is Not So Free

In the Survivor’s Guide chapter, ‘The Social Media Death Trap’, I explain how employees misunderstand their rights to freedom of speech when they work for a corporation.

The video attached is a classic example of someone who – even with the most careful separation of her work from her private life – got caught in the trap. She did nothing wrong, nothing illegal and her activism had nothing to do with the company where she worked or the job she did for them. Or did it?

Here’s an except from the book:

Apparently, BigCorp is concerned about your political and religious views. Why is that? Could it be that as an employee of BigCorp, the great unwashed masses outside your building (including that llama herder in Bolivia) might think BigCorp shares your particular political and religious views? After all, BigCorps craves access to you 24/7 and because you’ve agreed to be accessible, it believes you represent them at all times, even in your private life. BigCorp wants you to project an image in public and in private that conforms to the image BigCorp wants to project for itself. If you’re an asshole, BigCorp thinks the people you associate with will think BigCorp is an asshole too. Or perhaps whoever is running BigCorp—either a single majority shareholder or the hired hand CEO—has political or religious views of their own and wants to make sure BigCorp’s employees conform to their beliefs. So much for your freedom of speech and freedom of religion, right? But legislating against that is a no-no for government, you say. You’re right. It sure is. Not so much for corporations though.

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