Tomi Lahren, the young conservative pundit hired by Glen Beck's TheBlaze, has filed a lawsuit after being effectively terminated by the show. Although Lahren is still being paid pursuant to her contract, she has been removed from the conservative political talk show. Lahren is alleging that her removal was due to her pro-choice stance, while TheBlaze denies that allegation and denies that Lahren has even been terminated.
Lahren's wrongful termination lawsuit alleges that after her appearance on The View, where she stated that being against abortion rights and against government regulation of individual rights is hypocritical, she was indefinitely suspended. The show issued a statement expressing confusion over how they can be sued for wrongful termination while Lahren was still technically employed and being paid.
While Lahren's case may not be a textbook example of a constructive discharge, it potentially fits the framework. A constructive discharge occurs when an employer violates an employee's rights or contract in such a way to make the conditions of employment intolerable to the point where an employee is compelled to quit.
While Lahren is still being paid her contract wages, she is not reaping the other benefits of the contract, such as the publicity and fame that comes along with being on an inexplicably popular talk show.
No Freedom of Speech for Private Employees
Unfortunately for Lahren, as an employee of a private company that is in the business of producing political entertainment programming, her First Amendment rights may be restricted, legally. While her employer can't stop her from saying something on another program, or in public, it is not a violation of her First Amendment rights to subject her to an adverse employment action as a result of her speech. However, even though private sector employees may not have First Amendment protections, other civil rights and employment laws can provide protection depending on the content of the speech.
While it may be bad publicity for the show to admit she was suspended due to her controversial opinion on abortion, private sector employees do not have freedom of speech, and can be disciplined, suspended, and even terminated, as a result of public discourse. Additionally, Lahren has a history of poor judgment when it comes to public statements. For example, over the past few years, Lahren has called the Black Lives Matter movement "the new KKK" and accused racial justice activists, including Beyonce, of playing the role of victim rather than just moving on.
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