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Displaying an American Flag at Work

Can my employer make me display an American flag at my workstation?

Believe it or not, the answer is yes.  In 1999, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that an employee who refused to display an American flag at his work station during the first Gulf War could not sue his employer after he was fired.  Although Connecticut law protects First Amendment free speech and expression, the court held that this refusal was not protected conduct: “Because a flag was to be affixed to  each workstation, and because the plaintiff’s workstation was not exposed to public scrutiny, he was not required to assume the risk that others might attribute to him any political beliefs about the flag that he did not share.” 

Cotto v. United Technologies Corp., 251 Conn. 1, 20 (1999). 

However, political speech is generally protected conduct in the workplace, as long as it does not interfere with the employee doing his or her job and isn’t just a part of the employee’s job. 


Happy Independence Day!