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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Should We Expand Employers’ Rights?

I wonder what people are thinking when they try to get fired a TA who might (or might not) have posted offensive crap online. The moment you make this acceptable prepare for “You said something objectionable online so here’s the door” to be the answer whenever you ask for a raise, try to unionize, criticize the administration, etc. And even if you’ve never been online in your life, how easy is it to make it look like you are the most obnoxious person on social media?

Also, if employers have the right to evaluate the morality of workers and fire them if they disapprove, how can anybody make an argument against employers who fire people for using contraception? According to this logic, an employer should be able to fire not even just for actual use but also for writing a pro-contraception tweet. 

That’s why I always say: figure out what your principles are and proceed from there. Are you in favor of expanding employers’ rights to having control over your social media activities outside of work hours? That’s what’s at stake here. 

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12 thoughts on “Should We Expand Employers’ Rights?

  1. Many/most states, especially in the South and West are “employment at will.” That means employers have no need for a reason to fire a worker. They can just do it and the worker has no recourse.

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    • That doesn’t make it ok to invite employers to police the morality of workers.

      This is a case of people who are trying to shred worker rights for supposedly progressive reasons. Because they have zero class consciousness.

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      • “for supposedly progressive reasons”

        What progressive? There is no progressive politics at present, just various types of regression and conformity.

        Recognize when things are dead. That’s the only hope of moving forward.

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  2. Shakti on said:

    Your problems with trying to make a slippery slope argument for workers’ rights via Nazi TA is that 1) most workers don’t have free speech rights or “academic freedom” (they won’t fire you officially for your opinion, you just will end up out of a job) and 2)you assume that the man’s opinions have nothing to do with how he does his job.

    I would not trust this person to grade labs or papers fairly or treat students in his sections fairly or on merit.

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    • People have literally said this same thing about not trusting me to grade fairly because of things I wrote here on the blog. Should I be fired?

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      • \ People have literally said this same thing about not trusting me to grade fairly

        Some weird person on Internet or somebody whom you know in RL?

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        • I’m very fortunate that I work in the tolerant Midwest. So I haven’t had this problem at my current job. If I were where the linked fellow is, however, I’d have to choose between the blog or being employed. Isn’t that a shame?

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          • Isn’t Midwest a conservative area, while the areas you call untolerant are Liberal? Very ironic.

            During the years of reading your blog I’ve discovered numerous interesting new things, but have never seen anything shocking and way out of mainstream culture … for my sensibilities, at least. You were even unwilling at first to express very tame opinions on the Middle East conflict and have never written f.e. about depression and suicidal ideation despite mentioning having opinions on the matter.

            I am a very careful, much easier intimidated than you person, so of course for me “job security above all” is the motto, but I wish we could have more daring, controversial discussions on various topics – the opposite of “safe place” policy. Again, only if it’s safe for you and you wish to write on more subjects.

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            • Hey, folks who want to be offended will always find a pretext.

              Besides, once there is a widespread culture where this is possible, how easy will it be to remove inconvenient employees by engineering waves of popular outrage?

              I’m currently being very inconvenient when I denounce our Chancellor and his dishonest and vile union-busting. I’m doing it openly to his face under my own name. And since I’m a stellar employee, nobody can do anything to retaliate.

              But how easy would it be to rile up a bunch of dimwits by saying, “She defended a Nazi on her blog! She must be a Nazi herself!” And that’s it, problem solved.

              This is why I’m always pointing out these cases. There are more and more of them. And it always starts with folks nobody can have sympathy for because they are clear bastards. But once the system is in place, once everybody is complicit in the hounding, you can roll it out against anybody.

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              • And by the way, tenure offers no protection, none, once the argument is made that a person with these opinions can’t possibly grade or treat students fairly.

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          • “Intolerant,” not “untolerant.”

            Interesting that religious, conservative bloggers seem to have no problems with expressing themselves, while supposedly liberal mobs hound fellow Liberals. This is not true for the current case, but in other cases the observation seems to apply.

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