Can an Employer Regulate Your Private Life and Your Free Speech?

HNW Business Law, Employment Law

Many employees do not realize that employers in New Jersey have the right to regulate and prohibit personal lifestyle choices after work and during their private time unless the conduct falls within clear-cut constitutional privacy protection or meets a clear mandate of public policy protecting private lifestyle choices.  If you think I’m exaggerating, recall how the “big tech” companies fire staff and discontinue speech and ideas contrary to their in-house criteria.  Recall also TV personalities fired because of their political views.

Generally, the prohibited unrelated employee conduct relates to extramarital affairs, romantic relationships among co-workers, free speech, smoking bans, and other private lifestyle choices.  All employers and employees are cautioned that the scope of the prohibited conduct may no longer be closely reviewed by the Courts in New Jersey.   New Jersey seems to follow (as customary) its own thoughts on permissible versus impermissible conduct.

In one leading case, the Court indicated that while an employer is free to discharge an employee at will, the general rule must yield when an employer acts contrary to public policy in accordance with the leading New Jersey case of Pierce vs. Ortho.  But this case does not discuss lifestyle or extracurricular activities outside of the workplace.

Contact me (Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq.) personally today to discuss your New Jersey employment law matter.  I am easy to talk to, very approachable, and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns.  You can reach me toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com. Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Employment Law Attorney

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