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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,474

    Default Employee Rights to Associate Outside of Work

    Quote Quoting Picasso1
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    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: California

    Our manager doesn't allow coworkers to call or text each other outside of business hours. Texts that are sent during business hours, the manager requires employees to add that manager so they view all employee conversations. All this communication is done on employee personal phones. We were threatened with punishment for not following those rules.

    I'd like to know what my rights are, and if I have any protection from these rules.
    Quote Quoting cbg
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    This is one of those, "It's legal because no law says it is not legal" things. The law simply does not address the question.
    The US Constitution with freedom of association doesn't factor into the situation at all? Its a bit scary if employers can get away with regulating their employees personal lives.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    4,301

    Default Re: Not Allowing Texting Coworkers During Non-Work Hours. Manager Cc'd in All Texts

    The US Constitution generally limits what the government can do/restrict.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: Not Allowing Texting Coworkers During Non-Work Hours. Manager Cc'd in All Texts

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    The US Constitution with freedom of association doesn't factor into the situation at all? Its a bit scary if employers can get away with regulating their employees personal lives.
    No, it doesn't. First of all, the Constitution doesn't mention freedom of association. Second, the First Amendment of the Constitution regulates what the government cannot do. It doesn't talk about your employer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    8,238

    Default Re: Not Allowing Texting Coworkers During Non-Work Hours. Manager Cc'd in All Texts

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    The US Constitution with freedom of association doesn't factor into the situation at all? Its a bit scary if employers can get away with regulating their employees personal lives.
    No, it doesn't factor into it at all. The First Amendment reads as follows: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Bolding added. Note the bolded first phrase: "Congress shall make no law..." The First Amendment only protects against federal government intrusion on those listed rights. The Supreme Court has held that those rights now apply to protect against such intrusion by state and local governments, too, through the 14th Amendment. But the First and 14th Amendments do not extent the protection to private persons. As far as the Consitution is concerned a private business is free to restrict the rights of its employees with respect to free speech, religion, assembly, etc.

    The only reason that employers cannot discriminate based on religion is not the Constitution but rather the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But there is no similar federal statute that protects employees from an employer restricting their speech or right to assemble. Few states have such laws either. However, there is at least one state that has a law that would protect the OP here: Colorado. Colorado law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee for any out of work activity of the employee that is not illegal.

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