Moving constitutional rights forward

You have the right to free speech, and you have the right to remain silent.

You have the right to choose your own religion, and you have the right to not have someone else’s forced on you.

You have the right to get together in public and protest, and you have the right to privacy.

All these rights, and more, are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. At Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, we are passionate believers and fierce advocates of these rights. We stand ready to protect yours if anyone, from a government agency to an employer, tries to take them away.

The first 10 amendments to the Constitution – the Bill of Rights – spell out these rights. The 14th Amendment, which grants anyone born in the United States citizenship, came later.

Most Constitutional rights cases involve a government agency attempting to infringe on rights – a college that restricts what professors can write or a school that limits what students can say, for example. Those accused of crimes are protected from unreasonable searches and cruel and unusual punishment.

Constitutional rights and the workplace

There also are applications for private employers. A company can’t fire a worker for political opinions or activities, for example, though they can limit such speech at the office. In South Carolina, businesses can’t discipline employees with conscientious objections to working on Sundays.

Employees of private companies shouldn’t expect privacy at work, but they can expect protection for private information. Likewise, protection against illegal searches don’t apply on the job at a private company, though there are limits on drug screening.

Though the Constitution doesn’t directly address these situations, protections still exist because of court rulings or the passage of laws. For that same reason, employees have some rights to discuss working in public, including on social media.

Regardless of where you work, if you’re concerned about a rights violation, contact us. We might be able to help.