Is a zero tolerance negativity policy legal?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is a zero tolerance negativity policy legal?

My employer made me sign a warning that
beginning 2019 there will be no negativity
tolerated in the workplace. Understandable
they want to limit gossip or talking about each
other but I was specifically told that we would
be written up if we complained about changes
that are being made if we dont agree with
them and to address it with our managers on
one on ones. Mind you, this place has very
untrustworthy management and it feels like
there is truly no one to complain to or that
anything gets done. On top of it, they said they
would not give me a copy of what I signed. Is
this an infringement of employee rights to
discuss work conditions? This is not a union
group, though. Ive been told in private by a
supervisor that they are weeding out people
before they enact a wage analysis or pay raise
in the next fiscal year. Is this kind of policy

Asked on November 20, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

An employer can bar even productive discussions of changes or polices *at* work because an employer has full discretion over the workplace--for exampe, an employer could legally bar ALL conversations at work and not allow employees to talk to each other about anything not required to the task at hand. They may not bar out of work conversations about workplace conditions, work policies, etc., so long as such are legitimate discussions among workers (e.g. you don't have a right to defame or badmouth your workplace to outsiders), but can legally tell people what can and cannot be discussed when actually on the job, or the proper channels to discuss polices while at work.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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