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Friday, July 21, 2017

Columns

Focus Friday: Can freedom of speech protect your job?


bill proposed in the Texas legislature known as HB-2787 would protect off-the-clock employees from getting fired for expressing personal political beliefs. It would also protect the jobs of those who attend protests and rallies.

What does this mean for jobs if or when there is no room for personal opinions? How does freedom of speech come into play?

The United States is an amazing country because it allows for people of all credence, color and religion to express and practice their views without persecution. We celebrate our diversity and this includes the freedom to express our political views in an appropriate manner.

This law should not be necessary, but Texas has given the power to employers to fire employees for any reason they see fit. This proposed law stops Texas businesses from firing employees for expressing their political views, either publicly or through social media. It is a step in the right direction for Texas’ legislature, whose laws have shown tendencies of alienating everyday Texas workers.

Opinion columnist Anthony Cianciulli is a broadcast journalism junior and can be reached at [email protected]

This bill has potential to allow a lot of people to freely express their opinions; everyone is entitled to one. However, the bill creates more problems for journalists. Part of their job is to be objective since they are relaying the news. There is no room for their personal beliefs or opinions in the workplace, and journalists are nearly always on the clock.

A good compromise would be if the bill protected people from termination if their work contract did not have anything stipulating that employees are prohibited from personal opinions on or off the clock. That way, employees would be hired knowing what they can and cannot express.

Opinion editor Thomas Dwyer is a broadcast journalism sophomore and can be reached at [email protected]

Overall, I think the bill is a good idea. It is a protection of the First Amendment. What’s free speech if it has all of these rules and stipulations, especially when they’re not attacking anyone in the process?

For journalists, I see why it would be a concern in the context of possibly inserting subjectivity. But even now, that’s a concern regardless, and it is up to the person to be well rounded and informed individual. Even then there are many facets in journalism. You have news, which involves investigative research and presenting facts, not opinions, and needs to be upheld.

Opinion columnist Dana Jones is a print journalism junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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