Protected Conduct for Public Employees, let’s discuss. In the wake of the horrific events of Tuesday, there are now many verified reports that some of the criminal actors at the Capitol were law enforcement or other types of public employees and since the Capitol police let them simply walk out rather than arresting them at the time, they are now trying to track the criminals down. So, if you are a public employee (even a manager) and you know your co-worker, or manager for that matter, was involved in the events of terrible Tuesday, these are the steps you need to take:
1) Screenshot evidence or make contemporaneous notes;
2) Notify an elected official like a mayor, city councilperson, sheriff- really anyone who is elected (if you are a TN state employee, this is important and I will explain later);
3) Notify HR in writing and in person, but at least in writing.
4) If you feel like the person you are reporting was also taking racist or sexist action (for example, were they trotting around a Confederate flag?), then include that fact in your complaint, if you found that offensive.
This type of report is protected conduct for public employees under the First Amendment and if you report to an elected official, under the TN Public Employee Political Freedom Act (PEPFA). Moreover, if there are elements of racism or sexism or anything that involves a protected class, this may be protected conduct under Title VII.
Private employees do not have the same protections under the First Amendment and PEPFA, but if you are “friends” with a co-worker on social media who were there, I am sure the FBI would appreciate the information.
Call us if you have any questions!