What are our rights if my employer says that we aren’t allowed to talk about a lawsuit that has been filed against them?

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What are our rights if my employer says that we aren’t allowed to talk about a lawsuit that has been filed against them?

My employer is the defendant in a class action lawsuit for failing to pay delivery drivers minimum wage. The store manager told us we are not allowed to discuss the case with coworkers while we are on the clock. The reasons we were given were because they “don’t want us congregating and getting ourselves all riled up”. Does casually discussing the case fall under protected speech?

Asked on June 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not you have freedom of speech in the workplace depends on if your emploer is a private or public sector employer, what you are saying and what position you hold with the employer.  Generally speaking, as a public sector employee you have first amendment rights of free speech in the workplace with certain limitations.  That right does not pass over to private sector employees.  But certain types of speech can "back door themsleves in" under federal grounds, such as a right to religious beliefs, etc.  If you think that you are being discriminated upon contact your department of labor or your state attorney general's office and just seek to ask for clarification.  Good luck.


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