As many people have said, the First Amendment protects you from punishment by the Government, not consequences for your speech and actions; that much is true, however, what's really at stake here is the broader principle of free speech, which anyone who wishes to live in a liberal, pluralistic society should go to great lengths to protect. While organizations should and do have the right to eliminate relationships with individuals who don't share their values, they should carefully consider whether they are doing so truly because of a lack of shared values, or if they're simply capitulating to the mob and trying to avoid negative PR. I'm afraid too often it's the latter.
People get fired for liberal views as well. Try saying something positive about unions at the social after work. Businesses fire people for things that might come between the shareholders and profit.
No. taking away someone's livelihood for legal activities off the job should be illegal. As long as my work is solid and there are no (honest) job-related reasons to fire me, and especially that I keep my non-job related opinions to myself while on the job, an employer should not have the right to fire me because my politics don't align with theirs.
Funny to note, this always (at least as far as I've seen) only goes one way. As a conservative, I would never retaliate against any employee who posted opposing viewpoints as long as they don't use company equipment and network to do it. However, I've worked for companies who drank the leftist Kool-Ade and I had to be VERY careful not to engage anyone in even a simple political discussion. Had they found out I voted for Trump, I would have lost my job. Just like the leftists who doxx someone, try to get them fired because they donated to the wrong cause, etc. The left has permeated the minds of both education and the C-suites in business with very dangerous promotion of just one way to do things. We all suffer when that happens. And believe me, about half the staff in the company DOES NOT agree with the company politics, but keeps their mouths shut out of fear of job loss or retaliation.
(That said, I am a big old bleeding heart social justice warrior, and I certainly DO believe in people's ability to change. I'm not into firing someone because of what they did ten years ago... assuming they demonstrate actual change and don't just double down.)
As others have already said, yes, your actions can absolutely demonstrate that you are a risk to patient safety. ("Maybe they feel that way but don't bring it to the bedside" does not seem like a risk worth taking! There's plenty of research on implicit bias, let alone EXPLICIT.)
But beyond patient care - I think we forget also about these folks' fellow employees. A good employer has an incentive (and, if you ask me, a moral responsibility) to ensure a safe and comfortable working environment and culture.
The 1st Amendment protects you from punishment for speech against the GOVERNMENT, not personal responsibility for your speech or actions in general. Companies are in business to enhance earnings for Employees and Stakeholders and need to act accordingly to protect themselves.
People seem to get this confused all the time.
A guarded "yes", with constraints around whether or not their actions or posts show or express job-disqualifying actions, thinking specifically of the multiple (!!!) nurses who have been fired recently for saying that liberals, Democrats, and black people should be killed or enslaved. If you are in a healthcare providing role (or teaching, policing, public defense or prosecution, judgeship or any other public service role) and you believe that some of the people in your are aren't actually human then you are disqualified from performing in that role and should be removed from your position. You present material danger to the people in your care.
But I'm pretty sure one can be fired for pretty much any reason not covered by Equal Employment Opportunity laws. Too many people seem to have the juvenile understanding that the 1st Amendment to mean that one can say whatever they want whenever they want and that anyone who objects to it or does anything about it , like firing them, is anti free speech. That is not how it works though. Just because the law ensures that there will be no laws to abridge one's right to say whatever they want, it does nothing to abridge an employer's right to decide that the person is no longer a good fit for the company.
Free speech can come with a price, no reason that your employer should have to pay it. If your free speech causes an issue at your workplace, they should certainly have the right to fix it (by showing you the door).
Its never OK, we have a first amendment right to state our opinions and beliefs. This practice will eventually be struck down. We've lost our ever loving minds in this country and it saddens me.
I don’t think people should be fired, have their college admissions revoked or suffer significant life changing consequences just for making an insensitive social media post, loosing their cool in a shopping center, saying or doing something stupid 20 years ago or some of the other events that seem to be contributing to firings recently. It’s not that these events should be ignored or tolerated but the “punishment” of losing your livelihood and having your whole life trajectory likely destroyed due to being unable to get future jobs seems disproportionate to the magnitude of the offense. That being said I can also see situations, for example in direct care health care workers where hateful speech that has gone viral would undermine confidence in the ability of patients to receive appropriate treatment at the facility based on their race/ethnicity, LGBTQ or immigration status or a whole host of other personal characteristics that should not affect receipt of health services or make someone uncomfortable in seeking out health services. Even in these contexts, there should be steps in place for due process, consideration of extenuating circumstances (e.g. acute episode of a psychiatric disorder) and for potential remediation where indicated.