Pro-Life in the Workplace
We’ve talked about your rights regarding pro-life free speech, but how does that apply to your office? Can your boss stop you from expressing pro-life beliefs in the workplace?
1. Nobody can stop your beliefs
First and foremost, remember that your pro-life beliefs start in your heart. Being pro-life is not skin deep. True pro-life integrity means loving life through all your words and deeds. It is not just your t-shirts and bumper stickers. If you are pro-life to the core, nobody can ever change that.
2. The office isn’t public school
Public school students have a certain amount of leeway in their clothing and actions, since the government requires attendance. Free speech and expression do not end at the schoolhouse gate.
But your workplace is different. The government does not make you work at a specific company. Since you ultimately choose where to work, you also agree to follow the company’s policies. This can include restricting your speech and expression. Make sure you understand the policy at your workplace.
3. No harassment allowed
Your employer might limit speech and expression primarily out of fear. Workplace harassment lawsuits permeate American offices. If an employee feels that the speech or conduct of others creates a “hostile work environment,” he can file a lawsuit. As one law professor explains:
[H]arassment law potentially burdens any workplace speech that’s offensive to at least one person in the workplace based on that person’s race, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, military membership or veteran status or, in some jurisdictions, sexual orientation, marital status, political affiliation, criminal record, occupation, citizenship status, tobacco use outside work, Appalachian origin, receipt of public assistance, dishonorable discharge from the military or personal appearance, even when the speech is political and even when it’s not severe or pervasive enough to itself be actionable.
Your employer might go overboard and attempt to restrict any speech that could be remotely offensive. Since the pro-life truth confronts the culture of death, some of your coworkers could claim your speech is hostile toward them.
Now for the good news: harassment is a two-way street. Pro-lifers don’t have to work in a hostile environment either! If your cubicle neighbor is discussing his sexual escapades, you should notify the boss. If someone criticizes the number of children you have, talk to management. You have the same right to work in peace that your coworkers do.
Stay true to your pro-life core and you’ll easily withstand life’s challenges.
Please keep in mind that the views expressed in this article may not be official American Life League policy, but rather reflect the personal experiences and advice of ALL staff members.