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IPFS News Link • Employee and Employer Relations

Wearing 'Don't Tread on Me' insignia could be punishable racial harassment

• By Eugene Volokh

In doing so, it applies the same legal rules that courts apply to private employers, and that the EEOC follows in deciding whether to sue private employers. The EEOC has already ruled that coworkers' wearing Confederate flag T-shirts can be punishable harassment (a decision that I think is incorrect); and, unsurprisingly, this is extending to other political speech as well. Here's an excerpt from Shelton D. [pseudonym] v. Brennan, 2016 WL 3361228, decided by the EEOC two months ago:

On January 8, 2014, Complainant filed a formal complaint in which he alleged that the Agency subjected him to discrimination on the basis of race (African American) and in reprisal for prior EEO activity when, starting in the fall of 2013, a coworker (C1) repeatedly wore a cap to work with an insignia of the Gadsden Flag, which depicts a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase "Don't Tread on Me."

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by JNeilSchulman
Entered on:

In my 1979 novel Alongside Night an organization called the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre, seeking a Second American Revolution, welcomes visitors to one of its undergrounds: "The room’s only decoration was a modified Gadsden flag draped on the wall adjoining the bar and medical areas (opposite the door), a golden field with 'LAISSEZ-FAIRE!' in an upper left corner, a coiled rattlesnake facing left with its tongue out, and in the lower right, 'DONT TREAD ON ME!'" The Gadsden flag without the addition of "LAISSEZ-FAIRE!" is carried over into the 2014 Alongside Night movie adaptation in which the Gadsden flag is used by the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre as well as the traditional anarchist black flag. As well, in the movie, an animated rattlesnake tattoo is shown moving across a woman's body while hissing, "Don't tread on me!" None of this has any racial component.



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