A company has an expectation that you perform the work the pay you to do. If you fail to do so, they can fire you. So if you want to build a shooting range at work, or preach to the masses, they can definitely fire you, and have not violated your civil Rights.
What if you are able to preach to the masses, for example, but still fulfill your employment obligations? What if you are the highest performing employee in your group, but you still like to proselytize? And I am still trying to differentiate the Linda Ronstadt situation... after all, she was removed for making statements that she obviously has a First Amendment right to make (and which, I'd say, the Aladdin has every right to disavow and remove her for making, since it is their property). But agruably, she did perform a concert as well, so did she fulfill her employment duties?
I still can't determine where/when an employer violates one's civil rights. Obviously an employer has to be able to control an employee to some extent... you can't use your free speech to spend all day making personal calls, etc. I am mulling over your approach that as long as you "perform the work they pay you to do" your other actions are exempt. That definition doesn't seem workable to me... too many loopholes. Why can't AOL say that part of the work they pay these people to do is to participate in the maintenance of a gun free employment environment? If they said that, as part of the hiring process, would your opinion be the same, or do you think these employees were sandbagged? It just seems that an employer could define your "duties" using really mushy language (i.e., it is part of your employment to celebrate the diversity of others kind of crap) and, using your definition, be okay. I guess for me it comes down to an employer can control your actions on their premises... not your thoughts, and not your racial/ethnic identity (difference between behavior and identity, covers prohibitions against racial discrimination). In this case, the guys were fired for having guns on the property (behavior on premises), not for being gun owners or hunting on own time. It's not a perfect solution but it seems the most workable to me... I still have faith in the market (employment and consumer) to work it out. Look at what happened to Whoopi Goldberg, after all.....
Yes indeed. I think most of the major points have been touched on, and I've learned a lot from this thread.
The big point I take away from all this is that the first purpose of government is to protect our Rights, regardless of where the threat comes from. Be it a foreign enemy or a domestic one.
Also, we Americans need to be very wary of the emerging government-corporate "parterships" (i.e., fascism). This is where the gov't gives preferrential treatment to a company in return for that company doing what the government wants. Sometimes it's blatant, sometimes not.
It is a very sneaky way of the government implementing agendas that they cannot get away with by going through the standard legislative and electoral procedures. It represents a real threat to our Freedom, and it's disappointing to see many conservatives rallying behing corporate "rights" at the expense of individual Rights.