It’s no secret the federal government — overrun with progressives and their liberty-destroying ideology — aren’t big freedom of speech fans, but the new ways in which these folks are attempting to silence individuals in the work place is beyond egregious.
Apparently, thanks to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, if you happen to be a fan of the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag and wear any sort of clothing featuring the iconic snake, you could find yourself in big trouble.
According to the Washington Post, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, among its other functions, decides “hostile work environment” harassment claims brought against federal agencies. In doing so, it applies the same legal rules that courts apply to private employers, and that the EEOC follows in deciding whether to sue private employers. The EEOC has already ruled that coworkers’ wearing Confederate flag T-shirts can be punishable harassment (a decision that I think is incorrect); and, unsurprisingly, this is extending to other political speech as well. Here’s an excerpt from Shelton D. [pseudonym] v. Brennan, 2016 WL 3361228, decided by the EEOC two months ago:
“On January 8, 2014, Complainant filed a formal complaint in which he alleged that the Agency subjected him to discrimination on the basis of race (African American) and in reprisal for prior EEO activity when, starting in the fall of 2013, a coworker (C1) repeatedly wore a cap to work with an insignia of the Gadsden Flag, which depicts a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me.”
Complainant stated that he found the cap to be racially offensive to African Americans because the flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden, a “slave trader & owner of slaves.” Complainant also alleged that he complained about the cap to management; however, although management assured him C1 would be told not to wear the cap, C1 continued to come to work wearing the offensive cap. Additionally, Complainant alleged that on September 2, 2013, a coworker took a picture of him on the work room floor without his consent. In a decision dated January 29, 2014, the Agency dismissed Complainant’s complaint on the basis it failed to state a claim . . . .
Complainant maintains that the Gadsden Flag is a “historical indicator of white resentment against blacks stemming largely from the Tea Party.” He notes that the Vice President of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters cited the Gadsden Flag as the equivalent of the Confederate Battle Flag when he successfully had it removed from a New Haven, Connecticut fire department flagpole.
After a thorough review of the record, it is clear that the Gadsden Flag originated in the Revolutionary War in a non-racial context. Moreover, it is clear that the flag and its slogan have been used to express various non-racial sentiments, such as when it is used in the modern Tea Party political movement, guns rights activism, patriotic displays, and by the military.” […]
The reason this is disturbing is because it goes beyond the idea of a private business having the right to have some sort of dress code and goes so far as to basically mandate companies punish employees for wearing clothing with political speech on them or else face some sort of legal trouble.
It’s essentially the government invading a private company and forcing them to apply rules and regulations to those who work at the business mandating what they deem to be acceptable free speech.
Scary times when you can’t express your opinion at the one place where you spend the majority of your time, isn’t it?
It’s precisely this type of government overreach that led to the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag in the first place. Hmmm…
[Note: This article was written by Michael Cantrell]