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Posted about 1 year ago
Can your boss fire you for expressing your opinion?
tIs a human resources official, who voiced opinions about Homosexuals that contradict her employer’s views, protected from being fired by the First Amendment?
Dixon sued the University of Toledo, a public institution, for retaliation in violation of her First Amendment rights. It is clear that she expressed an opinion. It is clear that the issue of civil rights and to whom they should extend is a matter of public concern.
It is also clear that in her position with the University of Toledo, she was responsible for implementing hiring and diversity policies.
How should the court decide this matter? Did the University violate Dixon’s right to freedom of speech as a private citizen expressing her opinion? Or did the University act correctly by terminating an employee who expressed an opinion that contradicts university policies, some of which were her direct responsibility to implement?
Asked another way, is the “speech of a high-level Human Resources official who writes publicly against the very policies that her government employer charges her with creating, promoting, and enforcing” protected
The court found that her speech is not protected by the First Amendment. Why? Because the court found that while she did not specifically state that gay students are not entitled to protection of the university’s diversity policies, she did express a belief that the status of Homosexuals individuals should not be considered a matter of civil rights, despite the fact that the university explicitly provides civil rights benefits through its policies.