When Do Off-Work Comments Cross the Line
This is a very important and ethically complex issue. How far can an employer go when it comes to conduct, or statements, said by employees outside of work hours? As far as I can tell, the two main issues around “rights” involve (at least):
(1) Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Section 2):
2(b) Freedom of Expression
Everyone has the following freedoms:
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press and other media communication
The s. 2(b) protection of freedom of expression protects everyone’s right to hold any opinion or belief and to express those beliefs, through their words, actions or any other means of expression so long as the expression is not violent in form or in content. An assault on another person would not be defendable as an expression deserving protection. However any non-violent expression is deserving of protection under s.2(b). Infringement of this right is frequently justified under s.1 to protect the safety of others, or to promote and maintain an orderly society.
(2) A Company’s Right to Employee Persons They Choose
I don’t think anyone would argue for the right of any business owner to hire/fire who they like, so long as they are not violating any laws.
In this case, I think that it could be reasonably argued that since Infringement of this right is frequently justified under s.1 to protect the safety of others, or to promote and maintain an orderly society, such clearly offensive and sexist comments like “f— her right in the p—-.” Referred to online as FHRITP” are not conducive to promoting an orderly society.
What do you think?
#canadiancharter #canadiancharterofrightsandfreedoms #ethics