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Location: California, United States

I am a neolibertarian minded individual who feels that freedom and individual rights take precedence over the wants of government. I believe government exists to serve the people and not to protect us from ourselves. I am an advocate for private firearms ownership, smaller government, reduced taxes and freedom to live your life however you choose, providing you do not directly hurt others.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Employees Punished for Off Duty Actions

Last January I posted an article about an employer that was firing employees for smoking while out of the office. Since then I have been following a story of how GM and Chrysler facilities are requiring employers who do not drive GM/Chrysler vehicles to park in undesirable remote parking areas. In March, I posted another article about a Weyerhaeuser facility in Oklahoma that fired 12 employees for having firearms locked safely in their vehicles while the vehicles were parked on company property. These types of stories have made me very concerned that there might an increasing trend of employers exercising a little too much control over the lives of their employees. The USA Today article in the title link seems to confirm this.

Here are some excerpts:

At the Atlantic City, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, bartenders and waitresses can be fired if they gain more than 7% of their body weight. They are first given a 90-day unpaid suspension to lose the weight. Officials say it is a recent clarification to the company's appearance policy.


Lynne Gobbell was fired from her job packing insulation by her Moulton, Ala.-based employer for displaying a John Kerry bumper sticker on her car, according to the Associated Press and numerous media reports. Gobbell could not be reached for comment.


Ross Hopkins, who worked for a Budweiser distributor, sued after he says he was fired for drinking a Coors at a Greeley, Colo., bar after work.

I know these are just a few more isolated cases, but I am very curious to find out if this becoming an increasingly common issue. If this is a trend, it will be a difficult one to fight. On one hand is the employee’s freedom, and on the other is the employer’s freedom to hire certain types of workers.

I'm going have to side with the employees on this one. Employees should be free to partake of any legal activity while they are off the clock, off the employer's property and out of uniform. I also think it is wrong for employers to make rules about what types of items can be concealed inside of an employees car when it is parked on company property. Let's hope this issue doesn't become a growing problem.



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