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Labor Law and Free Speech: The Curious Policy of Limited Expression

By Julius G. Getman


Labor relations is the one area of law in which the policies of thefirst amendment have been consistently ignored, reduced, and held to beoutweighed by other interests. A \u22policy of limited expression\u22 has beenapplied to pure speech and symbolic speech, to consumer picketing andemployee boycotts, to political action and to the organizational activitiesof both labor and management.\u27 It has been woodenly applied bythe National Labor Relations Board (Board), routinely enforced by thecourts of appeals, and given its major impetus by the Supreme Court ina series of opinions notable for their failure to explain, rationalize, distinguish,or articulate useful standards.\u27 The approach taken in laborcases is in marked contrast to the Court\u27s traditional commitment tofreedom of expression, to its recent decisions expanding the constitutionalprotection given to commercial speech, and to its recentlandmark decision, NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co .,6 finding politicalboycotts to be constitutionally protected when undertaken for the causeof racial equality

Topics: labor relations, speech, Labor and Employment Law, Law, Legal Writing and Research
Publisher: Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 1984
OAI identifier: oai:digitalcommons.law.yale.edu:fss_papers-5409
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