Everything has limits: Freedom of expression at work?

An employer cannot challenge the fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Everything has limits: Freedom of expression at work?

An employer cannot challenge the fundamental right to freedom of expression. However, if statements on political attitudes damage reputation or are insulting, there are consequences.

Employers cannot generally prohibit employees from expressing their opinions. Political opinions must therefore be tolerated within a certain framework in the company. Philipp Byers and Manuela Winkler, specialist lawyers for employment law at the law firm Watson Farley, explain this

However, the basic right to freedom of expression does not apply without restrictions in the employment relationship. According to the article, employees are obliged to take the interests of their employer into account and to protect the personal rights of others.

For example, employees must avoid provocations in the company. Business relationships or the reputation of the employer must not suffer from political statements made by employees.

If employees violate their duty of loyalty to the employer or the personal rights of colleagues, consequences can follow. According to the labor lawyers, which sanctions are threatened is always a question of the individual case. In certain circumstances, termination without notice may also be justified.

Incidentally, the views expressed by employees in private are not the employer's business. Nevertheless, according to the legal experts, there can also be consequences here if an employee endangers the relevant interests of the employer through private political activities or statements - and damages his reputation, for example.

Accordingly, expressions of opinion in social media can also have consequences under employment law. Social media guidelines in the company can provide assistance here.


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