Around Cornell

News directly from Cornell's colleges and centers

Constitutional law expert discusses free speech in the workplace

Whole Foods employees wearing Black Lives Matter masks after George Floyd's death. Tesla factory workers putting on union pins. Tensions among professors, administrators and students in academia around the Israel-Gaza conflicts.

These are just some recent examples of conflicts over freedom of expression that arise between workers and employers across the labor market, and they were also among the topics discussed Thursday in a forum held in Ives Hall.

In her talk, “The Constitution and the Workplace: Exploring How the First Amendment Impacts Workers,” Charlotte Garden addressed the crowd of nearly 70 students, faculty, and staff, presenting the case history that has shaped the First Amendment over the years, detailing how those rulings have been used to support or undermine worker voice and power.

The event, held in support of Cornell’s Freedom of Expression Theme Year, explored how the Constitution impacts the free speech rights of workers in both the private and public sectors.

“We were privileged to host Charlotte Garden, a foremost expert on First Amendment law as it relates to work,” said Gali Racabi, an assistant professor at ILR and an associated faculty member of Cornell Law School, who organized the event. “As the leading school dedicated to research on work, Cornell ILR is well-positioned to examine these hard issues, especially given this year's campus-wide focus on freedom of expression.”

Read the full story on the ILR website.
Julie Greco is a senior communications specialist at the ILR School.

Media Contact

Media Relations Office