Employees should not be fired from their jobs for making generic blanket statements on social media
Employees should not be fired from their jobs for making generic blanket statements on social media. If the statements do not name any specific person, threaten the lives of people or directly harass anyone the employee should be protected. Otherwise, it is a violation of free speech. Employees should be able to express their opinions without the threat of termination. shared BoP Opponent must prove that it is lawful for employers to terminate their employees for expressing their opinions or making blanket generic statements. Bullying and personal derrogatory insults will be considered direct harassment for this debate.
Today we are debating whether or not employees should be fired from their jobs for making generic blanket statements on social media. I agree with the definitions presented by side proposition. However before presenting my main contentions, I would like to point out some of the already present flaws in my opponents opening statement. My opponent stated that: "If the statements do not name any specific person, threaten the lives of people or directly harass anyone the employee should be protected. " Well ladies and gentlemen we need to realize that a generic statement doesn't only involve those named, but perhaps those who were forgotten. I will be explaining this in relation to my opening quote "cardinals are red" in my constructive case. I would also like to point out that by definition, a generic statement is more of a factual statement than it is an opinion, but giving out false facts can have an even stronger impact than simply stating one's opinion. Alright so in my constructive case I will be explaining the basic psychology behind generic statements, as well as the justice system already put in place. Ladies and gentlemen side proposition seems to think that the only harm caused on social media is through direct comments to a single or a small group of individuals. Well I'm here to tell you we need to look at the bigger picture and realize the consequences that generic statements bring to large groups of people as well as people who are being overlooked by these strong statements. This resolution must fall ladies and gentlemen, it's for the benefit of all. Thank you.
I thank my opponent for their response.
As my assertion mainly rests on the principle of free speech, I will focus most of my first round argument around this foundation. However, first I will address my opponent's constructive case regarding cardinals being red.
"...a generic statement is more of a factual statement than it is an opinion..."
This is not necessarily true. It moreso depends on one's experience and perspective. For example, cardinals are red is a generalization more than fact. In general, "Male cardinals are brilliant red all over, with a reddish bill and black face immediately around the bill. Females are pale brown overall with warm reddish tinges in the wings, tail, and crest. They have the same black face and red-orange bill."  We should also consider that there will always be exceptions. If anything, many generic statements illustrate the speaker's ignorance rather than proving a fact. However, in many ways ignorance is protected by the 1st ammendment.
"...we need to look at the bigger picture and realize the consequences that generic statements bring to large groups of people as well as people who are being overlooked by these strong statements..."
I agree, people should consider the consequences that can result from making generic statements. However, all controversial generic statements made by individuals on social media do not warrant termination of employment. The importance of allowing such generic statements, even if seeped in ignorance, is to protect free speech in general. A society without allowances for free speech is more dangerous than an individual on social media.
I will allow for my opponent to further develop her case against the asssertion.
In my constructive speech today I'm going to be presenting the psychology behind generic statements. But before doing this I'm going to clash with the ideas brought up by my opponent. First of all, my opponent stated that the understanding of a generic statement depends in ones experience or perspective. This is a big point in my favor. Generic statements can be taken in many different ways by may different people, especially because it is stating a "generalization", like my opponent said, or a fact rather than an opinion. My opponent then moved onto stating that "If anything, many generic statements illustrate the speaker's ignorance rather than proving a fact. However, in many ways ignorance is protected by the 1st amendment." First of all I'd like to point out that my opponent did not set a clear house at the beginning of the debate, therefore we must consider nations outside of the United-States alone. Second of all, my opponent seemed to be pushing the idea of protection and the innocent intentions of ignorance. Well let me ask you ladies and gentlemen, how does it make a company look when their employees post possibly insulting and poorly reasoned, or "generalized" statements, out of pure ignorance? It looks bad. Now this would be very different if we were debating opinion, but considering we are debating generic statements, ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. If someone is going to present a fact or generalization, they must first make sure it"s true. And finally, talking about the first amendment, I would like to point out that ignorance and freedom of speech are not sufficient grounds on which we can insult peoples.
Now I will move into my constructive case. So back to my introductory statement "cardinals are red". Now, when first read this statement may seem true, but we are actually overlooking half of the cardinal population. The female population of cardinals, as my opponent stated, are a pale brown. And despite bits of red on the tail and wings, female cardinals are in general not red. Therefore, the statement "cardinals are red" is overlooking about half of the actual cardinal population. This is some of the basic psychology associated with generic statements. We make generalizations or assumptions based on the information brought to us. Side opposition stated that "However, all controversial generic statements made by individuals on social media do not warrant termination of employment". We are not saying that, we are simply saying that if an employee makes a discriminatory generic statement, the employer can fire them. Having ignorant employees does not make a company look good, and shows the employees lack of commitment and consideration to their employer. Now let's look at this idea on a larger scale. Say the generic statement this time was, "Muslims are terrorists". This statement does not target or threaten a particular person, therefore is acceptable according to my opponent's model. Let me ask you ladies and gentlemen, do you think this is an acceptable thing to say? That statement overlooks the vast majority of the Muslim population, as well as putting them under an extremely negative and racist light. Ladies and gentlemen side proposition might find this acceptable, but here on side opposition we think this is insulting, rude, and proper grounds for firing an employee. Here on side proposition, we don't believe ignorance justifies discrimination, and neither should you. Thank you.
I thank my opponent for their speedy response.
"...generic statement depends in ones experience or perspective. This is a big point in my favor. Generic statements can be taken in many different ways by may different people, especially because it is stating a "generalization", like my opponent said, or a fact rather than an opinion..."
generalization - n.
: a general statement : a statement about a group of people or things that is based on only a few people or things in that group
: the act or process of forming opinions that are based on a small amount of information
Generalizations are not facts. They are sweeping, loose statements that are based on a small amount of information.
"...my opponent did not set a clear house at the beginning of the debate, therefore we must consider nations outside of the United-States alone...."
Setting aside the first amendment, the freedom of speech or expression is a natural right. A right protected by many countries. In the countries where it is not protected or allowed, people are generally living in fear and under duress. "People in these countries are virtually isolated from the rest of the world by authoritarian rulers who muzzle the media and keep a chokehold on information through restrictive laws, fear, and intimidation,"
"...how does it make a company look when their employees post possibly insulting and poorly reasoned, or "generalized" statements, out of pure ignorance? It looks bad..."
It may look bad, however, a statement made by a person via a personal social media account or on a social media hub does not represent the person's job. Employees are not on constant call or owned by their employers. For example, off hours or on break time they have the right to freely express themselves. If they do not directly name their place of employment or specify customers, how would an uninvolved observer know who they work for? Social media is not the news. Statements made by individuals on social media should be taken with a grain of salt so to speak. In my opinion, many of the reporters on some newscasts (i.e. Fox) should be held to a higher standard regardig their generic statements than individuals using social media because they are supposed to present a factual and unbiased account. As we know, this is not always the case. Yet, they are often allowed to spew their "opinions" as facts through the protection of free speech.
"...I would like to point out that ignorance and freedom of speech are not sufficient grounds on which we can insult peoples...."
I agree with my opponent. These are not actions that I would condone or consider undertaking. Yet, what we want is a far cry from what is protected. Censoring expression would hinder individuals or the people from denouncing, admonishing or reprimanding political parties, government officials or representatives who have behaved inappropriately. Censorship also fosters a atmosphere that causes individuals to participate in group think or mob mentality out of fear of being castigated or ostracized for independent thought. It is just a fact of life that individuals will make statements that others do not agree with.
"...This is some of the basic psychology associated with generic statements. We make generalizations or assumptions based on the information brought to us..."
I think this phenomenon is more emblematic of the general dumbing down process that has taken place in society and the inability of most individuals to use critical thinking skillsor independent thought. I would blame the mis-education that is offered to many people and the programming that is rooted in many societies before I would censor the expression or free speech of others. There is always the chance that people will take what issaid the wrong way.
"...if an employee makes a discriminatory generic statement, the employer can fire them. Having ignorant employees does not make a company look good, and shows the employees lack of commitment and consideration to their employer..."
This is a case specific scenario. I do not support or advocate making discriminatory statements as they judge people on a group rather than individual basis. Yet, if one were to make a statement like, "Asians are smart" or "Overweight people always overeat", I doubt they would be fired for the remark. However these statements are just as flawed as other generalizations.
"...Say the generic statement this time was, "Muslims are terrorists". This statement does not target or threaten a particular person..."
Of course, being a Muslim does not automatically suggest terrorism. However, governmental policy and propaganda often sets the trend for ignorant stereotypes, bias and public paranoia. For nstance, racism was cemented into the institutions and culture of the United States by practices such as slavery Jim Crow laws and segregation. This racist history has never been properly addressed or healed. Muslims were actually targeted by governmental policy.The majority of the Muslim men I interviewed were made aware that they were on lists calling for heightened government surveillance only at the airport. When they tried to get their boarding passes for flights they had booked, they were then interrogated by a Transportation Security agent. I ask, what is more dangerous - an ignorant statement made on social media or an actual govermental program that incorporates the same flawed, skweded and bigoted ideology on a national scale?
"...That statement overlooks the vast majority of the Muslim population, as well as putting them under an extremely negative and racist light..."
I totally agree with my opponent regarding her hypothetical generic statement.
"...proposition might find this acceptable..."
As stated, I do not find that statement acceptable.
Here are some actual examples of individula being fired that I think were in violation of free speech:
"Sister Maria was apparently asked to leave the religious order where she has resided in seclusion for 35 years because she spent too much time on the website, it has been reported.And living up to her nickname of 'Sister Internet' - a moniker given to her by her fellow nuns - the 54-year-old broke the news on her Facebook page, where she announced she had been asked to leave the convent following disagreements over the online activity.Now, an online campaign attracting thousands of supporters is under way, with fan pages springing up demanding she be allowed back into the convent.Sister Maria had almost 600 'friends' on Facebook at the time of her eviction and listed her hobbies as 'reading, music, art and making friends', according to The Telegraph.The...convent in Toledo, central Spain, first got a computer 10 years ago to lessen the need for nuns to enter the outside world....she began digitising the convent's archives and made them accessible to the world - a move that saw her win an award and gain hundreds of friends via Facebook." 
The pictures were exactly what you'd expect from a European summer vacation: Cafes in Italy and Spain, the Guinness brewery in Ireland...a public high school English teacher in Georgia, was not prepared for what happened when her principal asked to see her in August 2009. "He just asked me, 'Do you have a Facebook page?'" Payne said. "And you know, I'm confused as to why I am being asked this, but I said, 'Yes.' And he said, 'Do you have any pictures of yourself up there with alcohol?'"..In fact, the picture that concerned the principal - showing Payne holding a glass of wine and a mug of beer - was on her Facebook page. There was also a reference to a local trivia contest with a profanity in its title.
...a parent of one of her students called to complain. And then, Payne says, she was given a choice: resign or be suspended..."He told me that I needed to make a decision before I left, or he was going to go ahead and suspend me," she said...She resigned. Attorney Richard Storrs is fighting to get Payne's job back." 
Employeese can be protected:
"...Recently, the New Jersey Federal Court offered clarification about what is public versus private in Ehling v. Monmounth-Ocean Hospital Services Corp...Ehling sued her former employer after she was fired for comments made on her private Facebook page, access to which was limited to her Facebook friends. One of her Facebook friends, also a coworker, showed the post to her employer. Ehling sued, contending Monmounth-Ocean Hospital Services Corp.’s access to the page violated the Federal Stored Communications Act (SCA) as it applied to social media..."
Companies or corporations should not be able to use personal opinions as grounds for termination. As stated in the article "No: It Too Often Becomes a Fishing Expedition Unrelated to Work Issues" by Lewis Maltby, "It's simply too easy to turn social-media searches into fishing expeditions. Employers are human and cannot avoid being offended by employees' private behavior that goes against their values. Experience shows that employers fire employees for reasons having nothing to do with work. People have lost jobs because of their political opinions and religious beliefs."  "...social media is considered protected speech, according to the National Labor Relations Act."
yellowbunny forfeited this round.
I await further response from Con
I"d like to point out that my opponent has greatly helped me in this debate. My opponent has proved many of my points for me, here"s how.
First of all, my opponent stated: "Generalizations are not facts. They are sweeping, loose statements that are based on a small amount of information."
Well that"s exactly what I"m proving. A generalization is a statement based on little to no fact, therefore an ignorant guess. Like my earlier example "cardinals are red", we can see that a generalization presented in the form of a generic statement, is often false. Presenting false information on a higher scale, as demonstrated through my previous example "Muslims are terrorists", can be insulting and unacceptable. Once again, ignorant assumptions and uneducated generalizations do not justify any form of discrimination. I would like to thank my opponent again for validating my argument by stating: " I agree with my opponent. These are not actions that I would condone or consider undertaking."
The second idea side proposition seems to be pushing, is that we have a right to free speech. But, they seem to be forgetting that we also have a right to practice religion freely, to feel safe in our country, as well as be free of discrimination. In the United-States people have the right to carry a concealed weapon, but do not have the right to openly kill someone. Similarly, as much as we have the right to free speech, we do not have the right to openly discriminate. Therefore side proposition"s argument is invalid.
"It may look bad, however, a statement made by a person via a personal social media account (") does not represent the person"s job. Employees are not on constant call or owned by their employers."
As much as the employee is not constantly on call, they are constantly employed by the company. If you ask someone at a store who they work for, they won"t respond "no one at the moment, I"m not working today." That argument made by side proposition is invalid. Next, not only does the employee look bad, it also shows a lack of judgement on the part of the employer. Companies want to maintain an image of professionalism and trustworthiness. Hiring employees who make ignorant comments on social media, viewable by millions of people, is not good for that image.
"Censoring expression would hinder individuals or the people from denouncing, admonishing or reprimanding political parties, government officials or representatives who behave badly."
First of all, according to my opponents model, targeting a specific person on social media is unacceptable. Therefore targeting a specific government official or representative would be out of context for this debate. My opponent has contradicted themselves. Next, I would like to point out that there is a big difference between an opinion and a generic statement. If one says "I think the Republicans aren"t looking out for the environment", that"s acceptable. Why? Because this debate is focusing on generic statements and not opinions as I have previously stated. Therefore this point made by side proposition is also invalid.
"(") and the inability of most to use critical thinking skills or independent thought."
Once again, how does it make a company look if their employees are unable to use "critical thinking skills" or "independent thought"? Not good at all. This argument is also invalid.
""racism was cemented into the institution of the United States by practices such as slavery, Jim Crow laws, and segregation."
People used to encourage smoking. People used to be racist. These ideas are outdated and are no longer valued or accepted within our society. This argument is invalid.
"The majority of Muslim men (") were made aware that they were on lists calling for heightened government surveillance."
This is not racism, this is a safety precaution. We"ve been seeing many attacks on airports, especially the most recent WestJet scares in Canada(1). 5 planes received bomb threats mid-flight, all of them believed to have been organized by Muslim terrorist groups. There have also been cases of Muslim peoples living in third world countries joining terrorist groups. I would like to point out that a Muslim man is not necessarily of Middle-Eastern or African descendance, and that Caucasian women as well as men who practice this religion have also been subject to higher levels of suspicion. Interrogation is not a form of discrimination, although it may seem racist to the person on the receiving it, we need to realize their opinion is biased and looking at the cold hard fact it is not actually a racist act. This argument is also invalid.
"Yet, if one were to make a statement like "Asians are smart (")I doubt they would be fired."
The difference here, is that they are not shinning a negative light on anybody. Saying all people of a certain group are smart, is not a negative generalization. If, however, one were to say "Asians are stupid", this comment is shinning a negative light on a certain race, therefore the comment becomes racist. This example brought up by my opponent is invalid.
My opponent brought up an example of a Sister getting kicked out of her religious order for spending too much time online. This example is not pertinent with the debate, because my opponent did not state any generic comments she made. This example is invalid.
The second example is about a teacher who posted a picture the principal found inappropriate. This is a picture, not a generic statement. This example is invalid.
My opponent"s final example was about a woman who sued her former employer for firing her based on private comments she made via social media. I would like to counter this argument with a similar example. In December of 2014, 13 dentistry students in Winnipeg were suspended for making sexually explicit comments about how they would rape fellow students (2). They sued on the same basis as the woman form my opponents example, but still have many restrictions and conditions which they must follow. One of the students was not re-admitted. Why? Because as I have previously stated, an individual"s freedom of speech does not override everyone"s right to living free of discrimination.
I have invalidated all of my opponent"s arguments, and shown you under which basis employers should be allowed to sue employees for making generic statements. Going back to a previous example I made, citizens of the United-States have the right to carry a concealed weapon, but not the right to openly kill someone. Similarly, we all have freedom of speech, but we do not have the right to openly discriminate. Our freedoms end where other"s rights begin.
I thank my opponent for rejoining the debate.
I will address my opponent's counterpoints as well as any claims of invalidating my previous arguments.
"ignorant assumptions and uneducated generalizations do not justify any form of discrimination"
My opponent is failin to acknowledge that all generic statements are not discriminatory. This makes the point invalid.
"...Similarly, as much as we have the right to free speech, we do not have the right to openly discriminate..."
I can only assume my opponent is referring to sexism, ageism or racism. All of these 'isms' are still practiced openly. The recent case involving the police assaulting the melaninated girl at the swimming pool i an example. Legal protection is supposed to be offered regarding discrimination in housing, employment, education, etc. However, there are many forms of discrimination. I can openly state, "I don't like squash - it stinks, broccoli is better", for example, that is discriminating. That makes this point invalid.
discrimnate - verb
: to unfairly treat a person or group of people differently from other people or groups
statement - n.
: something that you say or write in a formal or official way : something that is stated
: an opinion, attitude, etc., that you express through the things you do, the way you dress, etc.
freedom of speech
noun: freedom of speech; plural noun: freedom of speeches; noun: free speech; plural noun: free speeches
With social media, employers are often concerned about employees posting something negative about the company, its clients or employees. So lots of social media policies try to discourage, or just outright forbid, saying bad things online...
Some states, like California, also have laws that protect employees from being disciplined for the things they do or say off the clock. There are narrow exceptions if the conduct directly affects the company; but it has to be a pretty big deal that causes actual damage to the company. So if someone tweets that the boss is a douche bag, they generally can’t be fired if it was on their personal account while off-duty...
Also, employers are not usually liable for what their employees do off-duty unless they are controlling it. So the more an employer tries to prevent being liable for employee actions by issuing policies, requiring disclaimers, and disciplining people for what they say and do on their personal social media accounts, the more likely the employer will end up being liable..."
This debate round has come down to two main questions;
-On which grounds can a company fire an employee based on comments made via social media?
And most importantly;
-Can freedom of speech override discrimination?
Throughout this debate, my most honourable opponent has not only failed to answer either of these questions properly, but has also confirmed many of my points for me through their irrelevant examples, and lack of logic.
Now onto the first question, on which grounds can a company fire an employee based on comments made via social media?
"It depends on who's asked and whos doing the asking. If a stranger walks up and asks who someone works for, they may or may not answer. The important thing is it's up to them. This point os invalid."
My opponent decided to take my hypothetical statement technically. Therefore he did not invalidate my argument, he simply attempted to discredit my argument, which he unfortunately was unable to do.
"The people interpreting or misinterpreting the generic statement would be displaying the inability to use critical thinking skills or independent thought. This is a false claim of invalidation."
No matter how incompetent or absurd someone"s interpretation of a comment may seem to my opponent, discrimination is still unacceptable. I do realize not all cases may be real cases of discrimination, but some are and need to be delt with accordingly.
"My opponent seems to be under the assumption that statements have to be vocal. This is incorrect. One can even make a fashion statement."
Once again, we are talking about generic statements, not fashion statements or artistic statements. A picture cannot convey a generic statement unless the picture contains a quote. Therefore, as I previously stated, my opponent"s argument about a teacher being fired over a picture is completely irrelevant.
My answer to this question is simple. If someone makes an obviously discriminatory online, this is sufficient grounds for them to be fired. Companies do not want rude or close-minded employees who project that image of their business. These people need to assume responsibility for their actions, and as much as they have a right to their opinion, they do not have a right to share it with the public spark racial, sexist, or ageist hate. If people want to make a generalization, it"s their responsibility to ensure the information they"re giving out is correct, and not up to the employer to accept that negative image and protect their employee. Companies offer their employees pay for commitment and their skills. If the employee cannot respect that agreement and decides to make hurtful comments for anyone to see, the company has a right to penalize them and make them assume responsibility for their actions.
So, onto the second question, can free speech override discrimination?
My opponent seems to think that their clash against my claim that "ignorant assumptions and uneducated generalizations do not justify any form of discrimination" invalidated my argument. However this is false. My opponent answered "My opponent is failin to acknowledge that all generic statements are not discriminatory. This makes the point invalid."
Now, let"s look back to a previous statement I made; "Saying all people of a certain group are smart, is not a negative generalization. If, however, one were to say "Asians are stupid", this comment is shinning a negative light on a certain race, therefore the comment becomes racist." I clearly state that not all generalizations are negative, and have not once said that all generic statements are discriminatory. Therefore my opponent"s argument is not only invalid, but also false.
The next argument my opponent made stated; "I don't like squash - it stinks, broccoli is better", for example, that is discriminating. That makes this point invalid."
However, my opponent then moved onto saying;
"discrimnate - verb
: to unfairly treat a person or group of people differently from other people or groups."
My opponent has contradicted themselves, therefore this claim is not only invalid, but once again it is false.
"The recent case involving the police assaulting the melaninated girl at the swimming pool i an example."
This is not an example of racism through a generic statement made via social media.
"While my opponent has chosen to focus on generic statements, my assertion clearly includes opinions as it states, "Employees should be able to express their opinions without the threat of termination." My opponent has not considered the full scope of the argument. Also, her claim of invalidation, as those made previously, is inaccurate." "Again, this debate is not only about generic statements. The debate also includes free speech. The example given dealt with free speech."
My opponent seems to forget the resolution of this debate: "Employees should not be fired from their jobs for making generic blanket statements on social media." With this in mind, any arguments concerning the freedom of expression as a whole are not relevant to this resolution. We are not talking about free speech, and it is never mentioned in the resolution or in my opponent"s model. I"d like to correct my opponent by once again proving that this argument is, in fact, invalid.
"There are still people who are racist. Sadly, racism is still alive and there are still people who value racism. My opponent is illustrating a post-racial harmonious society that does not yet exist."
Let"s go back to my previous example, where I compared smoking to racism. Of course there are still people who smoke, but the social stigma and government imposed tax have greatly diminished the amount of smokers. Same goes for racism. There will always be an exception to the rules, but there are laws in place protecting people against discrimination, and a very low acceptance level for intolerant people. Side proposition was obviously unable to grasp the reasoning behind my claim.
"As stated, governmental policy and propaganda often sets the trend for ignorant stereotypes, bias and public paranoia. It should be noted that "Non-Muslims Carried Out More than 90% of All Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil""
My opponent seems to be forgetting a crucial element of racism. If a Muslim man is interrogated, it can be perceived as racism. However, if a Caucasian man is interrogated by Caucasian people, it will not receive attention for racism. Therefore, no matter how many people are interrogated, only about 10% of them will receive attention on the basis of racism and those cases are usually the only ones we end up hearing about in the media. Therefore, my opponent"s point is false as well extremely biased.
Finally, I will counter my opponents final clash. My opponent stated that I didn"t answer their example "Overweight people always over eat."
This example is not discriminatory, it is a passing of negative judgement. It is not an example of racism ageism, or sexism, and therefore not relevant in this debate.
Now, I will move onto answering the first question, can freedom of speech override discrimination?
No, it can"t. Ladies and gentlemen, what gives one human more value than another? Is it wealth? Success? Happiness? These are all easily debatable and subjective answers. However, my opponent"s answer is morally flawed. My opponent believes that exploiting one"s freedom, gives them superiority over another. My opponent believes, that it is morally acceptable for one to put down others based on physical characteristics. Well I"m here to tell you that that is not okay. Race, age, gender, and any other physical attributes over which we do not have control, do not define us. And letting other people use these minor differences as a basis for spreading hate is profoundly wrong. Putting out somebody"s candle doesn"t make yours shine any brighter. Our freedoms end where other"s rights begin. Exploitation does not give superiority. Discrimination does not give superiority. Where are we going to draw the line? Side proposition doesn"t seem to have one.
I would like to thank my opponent for their participation, and I hope any judges are able to see through the eyes of reason and realize side opposition has obviously dominated in this debate round.