Social Question

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Should corporations be allowed to influence politics but also be legally capable of firing employees for their personal political stance?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (30874points) February 14th, 2010

Something is wrong in America folks. My concern is two fold…

1 -
Lewis Maltby’s new book Can They Do That? details just where our First Amendment rights end when it comes to the work place. Did you know that you can be fired for having drinks after work? Did you know that your company can fire you for taking up skiing as a hobby? Careful what you email your spouse from a work computer because details from your personal life can be grounds for dismissal. A woman got fired for having a political bumper sticker that the boss didn’t agree with. A teacher was fired for obesity. Maltby’s interview on NPR exposes some pretty horrific stories. All perfectly legal.

2 -
So how is it that the individual rights and voices can be silenced, but Corporations can influence politics more now than ever. Let’s keep in mind that each Corporation consists of a board of directors. A small group of people who’s voices are heard speaking out for whatever cause they choose. How Corporations Influence the Government exposes the many ways big Biz can call the shots. You may for instance be very happy that Google and Apple Computer donated $100,000 to fight proposition 8 in California. You may even be happy that they can legally fire anyone in their company that disagrees with them. But how would you feel if they took the reverse stance? Why should the Board of Directors of any company be able to influence any decision in politics whatsoever, and yet the common man can loose his job over the same thing?

Something wrong here. Something’s really bad wrong with this picture.

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43 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

What do we do about this?

ETpro's avatar

See what happens when you give corporations first amendment rights? They use their right to free speech to squelch yours.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

Corporations should not in any way ever be treated as an individual citizen of the United States. But that, unfortunately, is how they are treated.

YARNLADY's avatar

Get involved, do your part, the government of the U.S. is by the people, for the people, but with the majority of people too lazy and uninformed to do their part, they get what they deserve.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy

I really don’t know. But it’s scary, and much bigger than I/we suppose.

The first thing I do with scary monsters is to FACE THEM. Only by looking at it carefully may weakness be discovered, and solutions presented.

davidbetterman's avatar

Did any of these people fight for their First Amendment Rights?

LunaChick's avatar

If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch The Corporation. – it’s an eye opening film.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@YARNLADY

What do I get involved with? I don’t want to run for office. What does doing my part mean?

It does seem that exposure is the first responsibility. Find out more about this situation and expose it to as many people as possible. Put a name on it… Call it something.

Then, with the power of Twit, Youtube, Forums… organize demonstrations and rally loud enough to be heard. I really don’t know what to do at this point except expose it and ask others to do the same in as many ways as possible.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@davidbetterman

Yes, that’s the point of the book. We have no First Amendment rights in the workplace. It’s all a farce!

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

How about not supporting major corporations by not buying their products?

As for the workplace, we can choose to work for places that have a good track record when it comes to ethics. Or we can try starting our own businesses.

YARNLADY's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies That’s a great start. I suggest more of the same. Good work.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy

That was my first response as well. But my livelihood depends on computers. And my little one man rebellion won’t do squat. Want’ to see how huge it is? Check out Discover the Networks and find out everything you need to know about who is funding what. It’s all there and unbelievable beyond imagination.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

There’s the catch 22 then.

mammal's avatar

stop buying consumer crap, you empower them with the indiscipline of your spending habits.

galileogirl's avatar

Wake up everyone. Almost everyone not covered by a work contract can be fired at any time as long as it is not discriminitory by legal definition. We are beginning to see lifestyle restrictions because what you do on your own time can affect company insurance benefits. Once they can fire you for smoking or putting on weight. is skydiving or skiing far behind? So far as I can see the only solution is organized labor, but corporate propaganda has most American workers that unions are corrupt and destroy jobs. Like the corporations are in business for the benefit of their employees!

As far as using company computers, I can’t believe anybody is so naive! It’s not just a matter of closing the screen when you manager walks by. There are programs that can mirror what you are doing in real time so he can watch what you are doing from his desk. If you think you are erasing personal messages, think again. There are automatic backups.

In the 80’s I worked for a company that had a phone system that logged all outgoing calls on a data base that could be sorted by extension and/or number called. Anybody who uses a company line for personal business is an idiot

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@mammal

Unreasonable. Every corporation is backing some political agenda. I’d have to become a Shaman and move into a cave far away from EVERYTHING. There must be another answer. Capitalism is not Evil. The abuse of Capitalism is Evil.

Berserker's avatar

Wow I didn’t know that. That’s fucking scary. I wouldn’t know what to suggest though…don’t workers have rights somewhere? I mean, for example, you can’t be denied employment based on skin colour or religion right? Whatever enforces this, is where I’d go look for defense, then somehow go from there?

Unless that’s a joke in and of itself.

If anything, it’s time to set shit on fire.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@galileogirl

You’re right. But it’s not just work computers. Your boss can check out your myspace page showing your new Japanese car and fire you because you didn’t buy American. It’s unbelievable!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Symbeline

It seems that racial and sexual equality is the only thing that is protected. But if I celebrate Halloween, and my boss thinks it’s a sin, then I can be fired. CRAZY!

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

There’s ethical employers out there. It’s not all gloom and doom.

If your job is evil and you feel their presence is harmful to the world, its better for the individual to work someplace more fulfilling.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy

No doubt. I’m one of them. And I can legally fire anyone that I think is unethical. Even if I think you look unethical. You might smell unethical, and I can fire you because of it.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

So would you fire someone for sending an email to the entire company urging them to support prop 8 and make abortion illegal?
That’s free speech according to the constitution.

It is also legally permissible to dismiss that person.

What does “unethical” smell like btw?

The constitution also allows me to own firearms but I can’t bring those to work either.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy

The only reason that I personally would fire someone is for lying, stealing, or not doing their job. I don’t care if they’re a homeless heroin addict. In fact, I employ a homeless heroin addict. As an employer, I should have no voice on prop 8 or abortion whatsoever. But I should as an individual citizen.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

The point is that businesses have to have SOME rules to protect the business. So in a lot of these cases, yes they can do that. However there are laws in place that prevent employers from dismissing personnel because of weight, age, race, disability, etc.

Now I’m curious… what job does your homeless drug addict employee do?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Eh… I looked around at that website and it’s obviously made by extremely conservative people. They make any feminists look like some kind of hate-filled Nazis, as well as people who believe that testing on animals is wrong. The people that make that site don’t seem to be the brightest, open-minded group of people, so I’m not going to believe anything they say – because there’s a political slant. Neutrality is what people need, and they definitely don’t have it on that site.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@DrasticDreamer

What website are you talking about?

@Captain_Fantasy

Usually cleaning. But they also help with odd jobs construction, building sets or refinishing floors around the studio. One of them lived in my basement for a year until he got on his feet enough to get his own place. He sees his kids now and his life has turned completely around. He’s become a talented web designer too. One of them stole $500 out of the cash box and got fired and arrested. Another got crazy and left the state after knocking up a 16 year old girl. Another one just disappeared and hasn’t been seen or heard from in years.

davidbetterman's avatar

The First amendment is not a farce. However, the ?First Amendment does not extend it’s protections into the private sector.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@DrasticDreamer

Oh, Discover the Networks. I could care less about the front page. Look up the funding on their visual maps. Will you deny the connections presented here?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@davidbetterman

Agreed, it’s not a farce. But most people assume it does protect them in the private sector. That’s the farce.

davidbetterman's avatar

They should better educate themselves then. That’s the farce.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@davidbetterman

That’s what the book “Can They Do That?” is designed to do. But regardless of whether people are educated or not, do you think it’s right that people can be fired because their boss thinks it’s a sin to drink, and yet another corp could influence alcohol laws in the very same county? I don’t.

davidbetterman's avatar

I find much of what the ”bosses” do in private workplaces to be ignorant and petty. Outsourcing all the work to foreign countries for the slave labor is the lowest blow of all.

However, if drinking causes problems at work, then of course the boss is well within his rights to fire the drunken sot…

Especially if the job has to do with an activity which requires a sober mind and hand.

breedmitch's avatar

Yeah! We should really all get together and tell those bums in Congr…
OOH!! Something Shiny!!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@davidbetterman

You are avoiding the question. No mention of a “drunken sot” was presented. The above book review states:

Can you be fired because of a political bumper sticker on your car? Can you be fired for drinking a few beers after work because your boss thinks drinking is a sin? Can you be fired because your employer thinks you are too fat?

To put it bluntly, you bet your ass you can!

Do you agree with that or not?

davidbetterman's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies It really depends on the contract you have with your boss, and whether you are in a Union which allows these activities.
For the most part, I would expect the boss to inform me that I need to remove the bumper sticker prior to actually discharging me.
If I drink after work, it is my time and my dime. The boss has no business controlling my life here…however, if I am working a job where I can be fired for anything or nothing at all, then I suppose this clown of a boss might fire m e over drinking after work. I believe that I have heard of this happening in real life.
I know someone who was fired for being too fat. He had to be put on oxygen and they claimed that he was a fire hazard, too. Luckily, he was an electrician at a university and had a union backing him. It took him a year or so, but he got the job back. (He had 27 years in, and they were trying to prevent him from getting his 30.) Unfortunately, He died last week, before he got his 30. He died from being too fat

P.S. They didn’t actually fire him for the offense of being too fat. He was fired because they were afraid he would fall from high ladders and kill himself.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

It is ILLEGAL to fire someone for their weight. It’s called weightism.
I think your source might have some credibility issues.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I’m just saying that it’s hard to believe a website like that in general, because they obviously have a political preference and slant. Any site that says feminists are bad in general, and that people who care about animals are stupid, I’m not going to spend much time on.

Also, not that the facts about the connections between individuals and groups are falsified, necessarily, but it’s hard to make sense of that map anyway. Where do they get their facts, though?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy

It seems like it should be illegal. I certainly thought it was illegal. But Maltby is informing us differently. It’s worth taking a look at.

@DrasticDreamer asked:
“Where do they get their facts, though?”

Most financial transactions are public record. I’ve see no outcry denying any of it.

But I think you’ve misunderstood me. I don’t believe the Right is any more noble than the Left. I think they’re all crooks… well most, but not all.

YARNLADY's avatar

People can be fired for just about any reason, or none, in all of the ‘at will’ states, unless it violates the federal anti-discrimination statutes. The boss does not need any reason. The stories telling of the firing reasons don’t have to say anything about whether there was any wrongful termination appeals, or any legal actions. The mere truth of the firing doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story.

Where and when did people get the idea that being an employee was some sort of right?

Let’s say you hire someone to come and pull your weeds. He shows up, but tells you he can’t bend over longer than 10 minutes out of every hour, because he has a bad back. Are you going to pay him for the full hour? Why should any employer be stuck with an employee who can’t or won’t do the work?

Irishmar's avatar

With all the lawsuits going on for being fired for no good reason, I think the law is on the side of the person who got fired, for whatever reason. Everything is so politically correct, and there are so many organizations for the employees, I almost feel sorry for the boss at times, but I just think everybody rushes to their lawyer .. and files and eventually gets what they wanted, back pay, better job, bla bla bla

Nullo's avatar

It makes sense that the First Amendment wouldn’t apply to business; it explicitly states that it’s about the federal government – Congress, to be specific.
I think that an employer ought to have a certain amount of control over its employees insofar as it affects their ability to work. I’ve known guys that come in high, or still drunk from the night before. Not good.

dabbler's avatar

@Nullo I’d agree that an employer should have “control over its employees insofar as it affects their ability to work” but that wouldn’t seem to include something like a bumpersticker on your car.

In the U.S. one of the insidious things that companies have going for them in a LOT of states is a double-speak-named thing called “Right to Work” laws. These actually give an employer the right to terminate an employee without any reason whatsoever. In states with “Right to Work” laws, an employer who gets rid of an employee will give a reason why only if they are extremely stupid. That just opens them up to lawsuits. All they have to say is “your job is gone” and poof, bye bye ‘troublemaker’.

If an employer fires someone for weight or age or any reasons that don’t actually affect the work of the employee, they are just showing stupidity—besides showing what heartless a-holes they are.

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