Balancing Social Activism With Free Speech and Management Rights

Southern Illinois University in Carbondale attempted to release a ban on student-athletes and any displays of political speech during games, such as kneeling during the National Anthem. A week into the release, the public outcry on social media forced SIU to rescind the policy. Could SIU have established a policy that would have withstood public scrutiny?

As organizations think through the balance of free speech and the classroom/workplace, they are stepping into legal landmines along the way. Not only do they need to balance free speech concerns, but when considering employees and their workforce, they also need to carefully balance the rights of employees to speak out and not violate the National Labor Relations Act as well.  As employers rewrite their organization’s handbooks and attempt to address political activism and free speech, the careful balance requires legal scrutiny. HM’s attorneys are well versed in developing legal employee handbooks that address these issues.


SIU Athletics rescinds activism ban, legal experts weigh in on Code of Conduct addition


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