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Vedder Thinking | News Esther Langdon Comments on Employee Language Restrictions in HR Grapevine

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Employment Solicitor Esther Langdon was recently quoted in an HR Grapevine article, commenting on the broader conversation of determining and enforcing workers’ speech and grammar, a conversation that has arisen due to Jacob Rees-Mogg recent memo to his political aides. The controversial memo, which includes speech and grammar rules while working, a strict requirement to use only imperial measurements and the use of the suffix Esquire for all non-titled males, has sparked discussion for employers.

While many companies have in-house writing styles that employees abide by, controlling the words an employee can say erodes at the foundation of the employer-employee relationship, trust.

According to Ms. Langdon, context must be taken into consideration. "Businesses can and often do have house styles for their employees written work product and formal communications, press releases and so on. So far, so innocuous. But Jacob Rees-Mogg’s recently leaked style rules appear to go way beyond this,” she explains.

"Eccentric and authoritarian such language edicts may be, but are they acceptable in the modern workplace? Leaving aside the right to freedom of expression under the Human Rights Act, public authorities’ employees don’t have a freestanding right to freedom of speech in how they express themselves at work. But there are certain other protections which employees enjoy which could create interesting challenges to such language and style edicts," Ms. Langdon concluded.

To read the article in full, click here. (Subscription may be required).


Esther Langdon