If I am arrested during a protest, can I be fired?

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If I am arrested during a protest, can I be fired?

I am an employee of the city schools in a
union. I was wondering if, during a protest I get
arrested for blocking traffic or an entryway or
not leaving a building, I can be fired.

Asked on July 2, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be fired for blocking traffic or not leaving the building: while as a city employee, the 1st Amendment extends to you, so that you can't be terminated simply for the political, etc. beliefs you espouse (note: private employees have no such protection and can be fired for what they say or their politics), such protection only applies to your "speech" itself. You are not protected from termination due to being arrested (people may be fired for criminal records), or for your actions if the cause any difficulty for your employer, such as obstructing any part of school property, or remaining in a location when ordered to leave, or for any other reason that is not purely "speech."
The above said, if you are in a union, you also have whatever protections against termination or guaranty(ies) of employment, and are entitled to any "due process" or hearings, etc. pre-termination, that the union contract gives you.


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