Terminating Employees for Their Political Speech

Business and Society Review 109:2 (2004), pp. 225–43
Is ever morally permissible for a company to terminate an employee because of his or her political speech, and if so, when? By way of working toward an answer to these questions, I shall propose a set of criteria for judging when the policy that governs a company’s responses to political speech by its employees is morally acceptable. These criteria represent an attempt to strike a balance between the public’s interest in healthy democratic government and the legitimate concerns of private business enterprises. I illustrate the application of these criteria through applying them to the termination of Michael Italie, a Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Miami, by Goodwill Industries of South Florida.