ONEWhen Work and Speech Collide

If you want to be absolutely literal, all human life is speech. Every time a person goes to work all he does is speak. Or write. Or listen to other people speaking. Or eat lunch.

— Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer1

THIS BOOK IS ABOUT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION at work and after work—how expression is exercised by employees, regulated by law, and encouraged, punished, or censored by employers. The necessary place to begin is with a brief excursion into the meaning of “speech” and “expression.”

If I walk into your office carrying a cup of coffee and spill some of it on your new handmade Nepalese rug, you might see that as a careless act but probably not as an expressive act. But suppose I come to your office, ...

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