Even When You Are off the Clock, Your Choices Matter to Employers

Many Houston residents likely do not think about this when they leave work -- in fact, once they leave their job, they likely leave their work-life at the door. However, many residents need to consider what they do when they are away from work. Activities or actions that they take may affect them in ways they could have never imagined.

In today's society -- where rampant social media in a hyper-connected culture has led to seemingly innocuous photos or comments turning into major flashpoints -- employees need to know their rights and the possible actions that can be taken against them because of what they say, or do when they are off the clock.

This topic has made the rounds recently because of a punter that was cut from the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL. Chris Kluwe, the team's longtime punter and an outspoken supporter of gay and lesbian rights, was released by the team.

Now, the team says the move was not motivated by Kluwe's off-field activities -- but nonetheless, the rumor persists. And given that both Kluwe and another NFL player who supports gay and lesbian rights, Brendon Ayanbadejo, were cut by their NFL teams, it is hard not to think about possible discrimination here.

However, without facts, this story is more about employee rights. At-will employees can be fired or terminated for basically any reason (whether it is a good reason is an entirely different discussion). As such, it is important to realize that the things you do outside of work can result in consequences in your work life; and that, if such retaliation is unjustified, that you can pursue your own legal recourse.

Source: Star Tribune, "Schafer: Off-hours activities can burn employees," Lee Schafer, May 5, 2013