EEOC rules Gadsden Flag is racial harassment

  • 4 August 2016
  • NormanL
EEOC rules Gadsden Flag is racial harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has decided that Gadsden Flag you may have on a lapel pin or hat is a form of racial harassment, and displaying it in the workplace can bring grave legal consequences:

Recall that this is not a case about when private employers may restrict what their employees wear on the job, or even about when government employers may do so. Private employers have very broad power on this, because they aren’t bound by the First Amendment (though statutes in some states may constrain employers’ power to some extent). Government employers also have fairly broad power to restrict their employees’ on-the-job speech and behavior.

Instead, this is a case about the rules that all employers, public or private, must follow, on pain of massive legal liability. The harassment law rules (which, as I noted, are the same for private employers as for the federal government) are imposed by the government acting as sovereign — the area where the First Amendment should provide the most protection — not just the government acting as employer.

Nothing in the opinion suggests that the cap wearer said anything racist to Shelton D.; I’ve read many such EEOC decisions, and they generally list all the significant allegations of harassment. (I can’t access the specific complaint in the case, because all that information is kept secret in EEOC proceedings.) Shelton D.’s objection was apparently just to the wearing of the flag, and the ideology that he thinks has become associated with the flag. And the claim that the EEOC is allowing to go forward is simply that the cap, in some social or workplace “context” would be reasonably seen as conveying a racially offensive message.

The EEOC's ruling, then, opens the possibility for even more items, sayings, even water cooler discussions, to be labelled hate speech, and thus banned under penalty of law.

It makes the case for starting your own business...or giving up on the system entirely and, as some say, "going Galt."

 

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