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Insurrectionists identified from social media posts fired

Companies are firing individuals identified from investigations on the Capitol insurrection. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Insurrectionists from the Capitol riot earlier this month are being apprehended by federal authorities, with some being fired by their employers.

The individuals that took part in breaching the capitol are being identified through multiple means, including social media posts uploaded by the rioters.

Companies across the country are terminating the insurrectionists that have been identified from these posts, releasing similar statements that although they wish to respect one’s freedom of expression, this is where they draw the line.

Time reports that a Houston police officer is under investigation with evidence that he entered the Capitol during the riots, a day after HPD chief Art Acevedo called it a “fireable offense.”

The first amendment protects free speech and the right to peacefully assemble, but would participants of the Capitol riot fall under this umbrella? 

Emily Berman, professor at the UH Law Center, said that the first amendment wouldn’t protect the rioters in this case.

The first amendment covers many forms of expression such as speech, but it has its limits. Berman said that if a form of expression becomes a threat or incites violence, then there could be legal repercussions.

“As the common saying goes, you don’t have the right to shout ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater,” said Berman.

Although the first amendment wouldn’t be protecting terminated individuals, they may still sue their former employers for discrimination.

In this case, Berman says that companies with policies that prohibit employees from taking part in such activities could be protected from those allegations.

“If employers currently lack such policies, they should adopt them for the future,” said Berman.

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