Editorial: Individual freedoms outside the workplace

We live in America, a nation that has taught us to treasure our freedom, take pride in it and to gloat and let the world know that nothing can take that away from us. We know The Bill of Rights probably better than our grandparent’s full names.

Day by day, it becomes harder to find and keep employment. The list of requirements to execute any job keeps growing year after year. Nowadays, a bachelor’s degree doesn’t really guarantee having a quality job; let alone one with financial stability or a comfortable lifestyle.

Thus, when asked, “Should the employers be able to fire employees for actions done outside the workplace?” The imminent response is no, they should not.

The employee is entitled to every clause of his contract when on duty. As long as these conditions do not restrict the aforementioned in a manner that could potentially affect the way they choose to live their lives.

We are free to express our minds, spend our time and practice our beliefs however we want to and when we find it appropriate to do so.

Employers should have no right to monitor the behavior nor fire employees for their conduct when they are off-duty. It’s hard enough to find and keep a job without having to worry it will be taken away because it “violates” a code of conduct the company believes their employees should be subjected to.

In case of a misconduct, if this causes a direct impact to the employer, that’s when the line becomes far thinner than presumed. If the behavior directly affects the image of the business or the performance of the employee whilst at work, then a case can be made.

However, this subject like any other has its exceptions. Every situation needs to be approached in a different manner.

Every state provides different laws to dictate where the limits of the employers lay when it comes to the “off-the-clock” behavior of their employees.

Secondly, certain cases are more delicate than others. Should they fire a person for posting a piece of their mind on social media? Our freedom of speech would then be compromised if that were to happen daily. Should they fire a person for drunk driving on a company car, every other night and endangering the community? Please, by all means.

The particular case of NFL player Ray Rice is different from the common approach to this issue. When it comes to public figures, damages and stakes are automatically raised. There is an entire industry that needs to cover its front. The impact it has on sponsors, teammates, general image, and among many others — it goes beyond having a job to provide for a family.

We all need a source of income to continue to live our lives. At the end of the day, that is what it is. It’s every individual’s time and life — their right and freedom to live it within a civil and conscious standard.

What they do off premises and off-the-clock should be none of their employer’s concern. It’s time “the boss” learns that the fact that he provides a check in exchange for labor does not mean he owns the worker.

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Editorial: Individual freedoms outside the workplace