My name isXXXXX'm a licensed attorney. Glad to try and help out.
Sure sorry for the circumstances, truly. My heart goes out to you.
Here's how this works. In a certain sense, you are in a protected class, as follows. Anyone, without regard to factors such as race, sex, religion and so forth, is lawfully entitled to a workplace free from hostility, which along with sexual harassment is actually a form of unlawful discrimination
. Now, here's the tricky part, however. We're talking about a really
high standard here. For a rough analogy, think along lines of saying something rude...or quite inappropriate...contrasted with something really
rude. So, then, what does cross the line from rude yet legally acceptable conduct into actionable and unlawful behavior? Well, that definition comes from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, as follows. Check out this document, if you will, which is still controlling although it bears a rather old date:Notice 915.002
If you don't have the time or inclination to read the whole thing, here's the botXXXXX XXXXXne. To meet the legal
definition of "hostile", we're talking an environment going well above what most of us would consider to be ridiculous or even unbearable. To borrow a civil law analogy, there's a tort called intentional infliction of emotional distress. Many folks think it applies to casual
situations, but it's actually incredibly difficult to prove. We're talking suffering some outrageous tragedy, perhaps witnessing the death of a loved one (for example), having to be placed on sedatives and under psychiatric care, and so forth. Likewise, in the labor
and employment law
context a very high hurdle exists to make out a successful hostile workplace case. That being said, you certainly could file a complaint (free of charge). You have six months from the last incident in which to file. Everything you need is provided here for free: Filing A Charge
Now, having carefully considered everything you're related, in all candor and sincerity I don't see a viable case here. Rather, I see a sophisticated corporate employer who is aware of the law, perhaps walks too fine of a line, but manages not to cross it. To put it bluntly, an employer can make an employee's life pretty darn miserable and get away with it.
Finally, your query about the First Amendment is certainly logical and makes sense. It boils down to a rather simple situation. Any documents (i.e. employment contract
addressing social media) govern, which is obviously not the case here. So, that means you absolutely enjoy a Free Speech right pursuant to the United States Constitution. But, likewise, your employer enjoys the right to discipline you for engaging in disparaging or defamatory speech. It sounds like it's an academic matter at the moment, without knowing for certain whether anyone read and reported your comments, but there are certainly cases upholding terminations
for such offenses. Again, everything would have to be taken into consideration, but honestly what I see here is what I've seen so many times (and personally experienced) in the corporate workplace. I hate to say so, but I think you're facing a very tough dilemma of weighing the pros and cons of staying versus leaving, how much "toxicity" you can continue to stomach stacked up against, of course, your desire for secure employment.
If you have a follow-up question or need clarification, please just say the word by using "reply" to reach me. We're being hit with what sounds like the makings of a serious rain and wind storm right now, so I'll probably shut down for a while. You have my word, though, that I'll be sure to check back for any updated word from you when I again return to the online venue.
I truly hope all works out for you.