Can we work for any protection from “hostile environment” firings?

Lots of people are still wasting breath talking about polygamy, but Lydia explains the main danger well:

Yes, yes, we have a First Amendment in the U.S. But that is being continually whittled away by employment law, fraud law, and public accommodations anti-discrimination law, as I have discussed above in this entry and as numerous events in the U.S. attest. (To make it concrete in just one case: If you try not to discriminate and hire an openly homosexual employee, and another employee admits at the water cooler that he doesn’t think the homosexual is really married and that he opposes the homosexual lifestyle, you as the employer will be pressured if not outright coerced to fire the employee who spoke out or else face a “hostile work environment” lawsuit. To say that this sort of government-coerced employer harassment of employees for their free speech is consistent with either the free speech or free exercise clauses of the First Amendment is a joke.)

This is what I worry about, much more even than having our Churches taxed out of existence.  Anti-discrimination laws are or easily can be rigged to get anyone who disapproves of homosexuality fired and subsequently unemployable.  This isn’t just bakers and florists–this is everybody.  Fortunately, I don’t think most people would support a law forbidding Christians from holding a job; I’m guessing they don’t realize the far-reaching implications of anti-discrimination laws.  It’s not inevitable that they will be interpreted in this sense, but it will happen if we don’t seriously push against it.

I don’t think Christians and gender essentialists have enough clout to stop homosexuals from becoming an officially privileged class throughout the country.  There’s probably no point in even fighting over that.  Nor do we have the influence to assure that mere disapproval of sodomy (in an “over the water cooler” comment) shall not be a firing offense.  (We should try to fight this, but we’re going to lose.)  I think we might have just enough influence to be able to protect silence.  That is, perhaps we can get some assurance that positive affirmation of homosexuality shall not be required of all employees to ensure a non-hostile work environment.  The negative form of this would merely state that employers shall not be required to demand political statements of faith from employees in order to satisfy anti-discrimination laws.  I think this is an achievable goal.

Unfortunately, it would only give us limited protection, because sodomy normalization is largely not something the state is forcing onto unwilling companies; it is the sincere and zealous will of “the party of the CEOs”.  They want to purge us.  Really, we’ll need anti-discrimination laws to protect us, but I don’t see that happening.  If we say that Apple and Google shouldn’t be allowed to force their employees to be “gay allies”, they could always retort that the Catholic Church shouldn’t be allowed to force her clergy to not be “gay allies”.  If we try to argue that the latter case has to do with the Church’s mission, they can go on about how important–from a purely business perspective–it is for Apple and Google to have employees with the correct “diverse” and “tolerant” attitudes.  That’s balderdash, of course, but it’s the sort of thing businesses have been encouraged to say for many years, so we’re not going to have any luck calling them on it now.

These are not idle worries.  Silence may not always protect us.  At colleges, it won’t.  From commenter Scott W.:

When my parish organist was getting his degree in a music program at a college in Buffalo, they assembled everyone for a faculty/student meeting where one of the professors announced he was going transgender. Everyone gave a standing ovation. My organist and a few others remained seated not clapping. Later, he was summoned to a star chamber of faculty because someone reported it. They proceeded to threaten his academic career unless he took sensitivity training. Being still young and intimidated, he took the class.

JP Morgan Chase is starting to put the squeeze on its employees:

A document provided to Breitbart News shows the investment banking behemoth JP Morgan Chase has joined a long line of major corporations in putting pressure on employees to sign up for the cause of gay rights. And they have not-so-subtly let each employee know not signing up will be noted…

P Morgan urges employees to “print and display your ally placard,” which implies the recalcitrant will be noticed…

Besides the gay pride placard each employee is supposed to display in their workspace, perhaps the most intrusive article in the documents calls upon employees to “include LGBT issues in your everyday life.” JP Morgan brass want employees to “include [LGBT issues] in your life and conversations, just as you would any other topic.”…

his follows a controversy last year when JP Morgan Chase sent each employee a survey asking them if they were a “gay ally.” JP Morgan employees reached out anonymously to Breitbart News and other outlets about the pressure put on them to violate their own religious consciences.

I wasn’t making up that “ally” thing.

If the goal is just to avoid a “hostile work environment”, then what organizations are really interested in controlling is the public consensus, not private beliefs.  (For more on this distinction, see here.)  In that case, their goal would be consistent with the following protections for us.

  1. We shall be allowed to remain silent and not forced to prove our “tolerance” (except by behaving professionally to everyone).  If another employee by the water cooler confides to me that he likes to sodomize other men, I am not allowed to express disapproval, but I am not required to express approval.  People may think they can infer things about my private beliefs from this silence, but that does nothing to threaten their monopoly on the public consensus.
  2. Some reasonable warning should be given before any given opinion is ruled out of bounds.  For example, if someone posted disapproval of gay marriage on Facebook five years ago, it shouldn’t be a firing offense now.  (I’m afraid employers will demand that old now-forbidden statements be removed by their authors when possible, because then retaining them could be interpreted as a current speech act.)  Given how many Democrats used to claim (unconvincingly) belief that marriage is a heterosexual institution, I’m guessing this allowance will have wide support.
  3. Employees needn’t be hounded and fired for beliefs expressed in private or under cover of anonymity, even if these opinions are exposed by a hostile third party.  For us, this is crucial.  We must be able to teach our children the truth in our own homes, and today pseudonymous blogs are our primary means of public expression.  However, it might be possible to convince the state and employers to go along with this, because they must realize that anyone could be a victim of malicious slander, and they would rather not have the job of parsing rumors.  The liberals will fight hard against any such allowance for secret “haters” (because our very presence constitutes a hostile environment, presumably), but this is something we must really fight for.

That’s the best-case scenario, in my opinion:  a world where we can speak our minds at home behind closed doors and in disguise on the internet, and where we are allowed to save our jobs by refusing to speak where dissent is forbidden.  We’re going to have to work very hard to achieve this.

15 Responses

  1. […] Can we work for any protection from “hostile environment” firings? […]

  2. I think your argument clarifies that – in actual practice and over the long term – there cannot be, and never has been, moral neutrality – every act and policy is valenced positively or negatively.

    This has, in indeed, always been a New Left mantra in their elite literature – e.g. The Personal is Political. However, mainstream Conservatism and Libertarianism have been fatally compromised by their stubborn and unrealistic attempt to create zones of neutrality (albeit with the laudable objective of improving functional efficiency – it would indeed be better for science qua science if all evaluations were free of socio-political factors; but since they are not and never can be in any stable fashion – it is better to take sides).

    (More exactly, moral neutrality is merely a brief transitional state while passing from pro- to anti- or in the other direction.)

    As people recognize this polarization, because they are literally forced to recognize it, there may emerge unforseen consequences. Until now, many covertly partisan laws and regulations have been introduced under a guise of moral neutrality – that may soon become impossible.

    When that point arrives, however any changes are *presented*, they will then be *recognized* as either pro- or anti-.

    Once moral inversion is interpreted in an explicit way (and this is, in fact, natural for humans to do – it is how people behave in most of the world most of the time) – then either things will collapse into chaos very quickly indeed – or else there will be a multi-centred, widespread and spontaneous grassroots reaction; the results of which I can’t guess.

  3. Writing of Necker, the Swiss banker who became Louis XVI’s Finance Minister, Lord Acton says, “He was the earliest foreign statesman who studied and understood the modern force of opinion; and he identified public opinion with credit, as we should say, with the city. He took the views of capitalists as the most sensitive record of public confidence.”

    Again, he observes of the Declaration of the Rights of Man (which was contemporaneous with the First Amendment), “In September 1789, the liberty of the press was only four months old, and the reign of opinion was beginning on the Continent. They fancied that it was an invincible force, and a complete security for human rights. It was invaluable if it secured right without weakening power, like the other contrivances of Liberalism. They thought that when men were safe from the force above them, they required no saving from the influence around them. Opinion finds its own level, and a man yields easily and not unkindly to what surrounds him daily. Pressure from equals is not to be confounded with persecution by superiors. It is right that the majority, by degrees, should absorb the minority.”

  4. Do you have “over the water cooler” conversations in your department? I don’t. Mostly we don’t talk to one another, but when we do, it is in regard to department business or it is purely phatic. I became an academic with the idea that life in the department would be lively and stimulating. It isn’t. I have on occasion listened to colleagues hotly denounce legislation, but it has always been legislation passed by Republicans, so that is different. My workplace would be very “hostile” to a gun owner, for instance. But everyone knows gun owners don’t have feelings.

    Here’s one consequence of legalized same-sex marriage. I think it will actually discourage friendship between traditionalists and homosexuals because traditionalists don’t want an invitation to a same-sex wedding. I’m happy to be a friend to a homosexual, since all my friends are sinners in one way or another, but I cannot in good conscience celebrate their sin. So now I’ll need to stay in the zone of distant friendship where an invitation is not likely and, if the invitation comes, regrets will not be resented. Persons with traditional scruples on this question are going to get caught in a pinch by the weddings of their friends’ homosexual children, and in some cases their own homosexual children. Many traditionalists will not be forced to face this dilemma because there will not be that many same-sex weddings, but those who do will be caught in a truly terrible bind. You’d think the Church might tell us what to do in that bind. You’d think that, wouldn’t you?

  5. JMSmith wrote, “You’d think the Church might tell us what to do in that bind. You’d think that, wouldn’t you?”

    Not really. An important part of moral theology is casuistry, in the technical sense, that is, the application of admitted moral principles to concrete situations.

    One recalls the well-know episode of Napoléon’s marriage to Marie-Louise, Archduchess of Austria. Cardinal della Somaglia told M. Emery, Supérieur of St. Sulpice and a notable moral theologian that he could not attend without wounding his conscience. M. Emery told him that, in that case, he should on no account do so, for any consideration whatsoever. It transpired that M. Emery had been consulted by a number of the other 18 cardinals, then in Paris, and he had told them he thought they could attend the ceremony with a clear conscience. In response to a letter from Cardinal Fesch, the Emperor’s uncle, M. Emery explained this apparent inconsistency. He personally saw no harm in attending, but he had given his advice to Cardinal della Somaglia on the basis that one should never act against one’s own conscience, even if it were erroneous [qu’on ne devait jamais, agir contre sa conscience, même erronée]. He added, “Not that the inconveniences could authorise an assistance that was illicit, but these inconveniences are the strongest reason [une raison très-forte] to consider the more attentively, whether it is possible, whether assisting is really illicit and whether the conscience one has formed on that subject is not, perhaps, an erroneous conscience.”

    In the event Cardinal della Somaglia kept to his view, contrary to M. Emery, and did not attend the marriage ceremony.

    Both men, we may suppose, shared the same principles on the indissolubility of marriage, the jurisdiction of the Holy See, remote material cooperation and the obligation not to give scandal; they differed on the application of these principles in the particular case and who is to say which of them was right?

  6. MPS @ Subtle casuistry is great if one happens to have a private confessor. But most of us humble pew-sitters have to be content with one-size-fits-all, off-the-rack moral maxims. If the decision to attend a same-sex wedding is simply a matter of private conscience, then the Church could tell us that from the pulpit. Would it be wrong for me to attend the wedding of a bigamist? Well, to ask that question is to answer it.

  7. Bonald:

    If we try to argue that the latter case has to do with the Church’s mission, they can go on about how important–from a purely business perspective–it is for Apple and Google to have employees with the correct “diverse” and “tolerant” attitudes. That’s balderdash, of course, …

    But it isn’t balderdash. As I explained at W4 years ago, a uniform culture of PC tyranny is good for business because it promotes liquidity in human resources.

  8. > Do you have “over the water cooler” conversations in your department?

    No, and I don’t think there’s any way to protect the fellow in Lydia’s example from being fired as soon as he actually admitted to disapproving of homosexuality. If he had said nothing, offered vague well wishes that don’t explicitly affirm gay marriage, or changed the subject, no doubt the sodomite would not have been satisfied, but I think we’d have a good case that the man had done nothing offensive and that his boss should let the matter rest.

  9. JMSmith wrote, “Would it be wrong for me to attend the wedding of a bigamist? Well, to ask that question is to answer it.”

    Well, that is precisely the question on which Cardinal della Somaglia and M. Emery differed.

    Even though the Cardinal had the benefit of a private confessor, in the person of M. Emery, the one thing on which they were both agreed was that the Cardinal could not simply resign his conscience into another’s keeping, not even the best Moral Theologian in France, for the Fourth Lateran Council teaches that “Quidquid fit contra conscientiam, ædificat ad gehennam”—Whatever is done in opposition to conscience is conducive to damnation. That is why M. Emory insisted on the duty of following one’s conscience « même erronée » and why Bl John Henry Newman wrote that “if a man is culpable in being in error, which he might have escaped, had he been more in earnest, for that error he is answerable to God, but still he must act according to that error, while he is in it, because he in full sincerity thinks the error to be truth.”

  10. I don’t think we’re going to get a right not to be fired for blog posts. It’s simply not important enough to get legislation. Hopefully a right to teach our children the truth without penalty could be obtained, although I doubt it will hold up.

  11. This is why forging Parallel societies is so essential. In Europe, Muslims have businesses where they employ other Muslims. The communities stay together and ostracize outsiders, are hostile to non-Islamic institutions.

    Creating this for Christianity I believe will be two things:

    1) The only chance of preserving a livable existence for Christians
    2) The best rallying point left for an Occidental race in flight from the havoc of multiculturalism

    Bonald, your points of Christian Tribalism were never more pertinent.

  12. @ Mark Citadel

    No, it’s not like that. The Muslims are permitted their exceptions. Why are they so permitted? Perhaps because they are violently adamant about them. Perhaps because it is Christians, specifically, who are targeted by our evil elite. But, either way, if we do not resist violently, then we do not resist effectively. Now, you can take that to imply that we should resist violently or that we should not resist.

    In retrospect, I think it will seem a very bad thing that the Balloon Cardinal felt compelled to change the part of St JP II’s Catechism concerning when it is licit to lie. I kind of prefer “all the damned time” to the current “never.”

  13. @DrBill – Violence is an element of course, carried out not by the community at large, but by lone wolf actors and such. However, I do think the way these communities organize themselves and the codes of intra-cultural conduct that they lay down are perhaps even more useful to them, even if less obvious. If you take any country in Europe, you find nowhere near the level of cohesion among Christians as you do among Muslims, even in places where Christians are now a minority approaching the size of the Islamic implants.

  14. […] wonders Can we work for any protection from “hostile environment” firings? Holding liberals to their principles should work for a while longer. But the long term solution is […]

  15. Discrimination lawsuits are limited to companies greater in size than 15 (most of them) or 10 people. It used to be the case that it was more efficient to get larger to keep secrets in house (see Coase, the Theory of the Firm), but with all the added costs of discrimination law, and with information technology making it possible to create small, high-profit firms, I would think limiting the number of employees to 9 would be the way to go. You can pinch all the rear ends, use all the racially inappropriate terms, and insult sodomites then all you want. Or you can just be a decent human being and not fear losing your business to grifters and legal sharks.

    What can you accomplish with only 9 employees? I think the Supreme Court just showed that.

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