My 9 year old son and I were having breakfast this morning in our usual cafe.  A group of men I recognise from other mornings came in, and sat close by, and began a very loud conversation.  This is not uncommon.  It’s also not uncommon for them to use horrible language which I find unnecessary given that they are clearly well educated people, and can see that there are children present.

What was new this morning was their topic of conversation.  They are obviously unhappy with a colleague, who, by the sound of it has quite a bad stutter.  They decided that this was an appropriate time and place to make fun of him and his affliction at the tops of their voices.

I am an advocate of free speech and whilst I don’t agree with what they said, or where and how they said it, I do believe that they should be allowed to have their own personal opinions.  However, they were all wearing clothing and badges that clearly identified their employer, and I had the impression that this was a work related meeting, rather than a group of friends meeting on the way to the office.

So, whilst people as individuals are entitled to their opinions, should they be allowed to involve their employers names and reputations in views that those employers may not share?  In fact, could it be said that by expressing those views so publicly and loudly, that they were damaging their employers brand? Could such activity amount to discrimination and/or gross misconduct?

If you have staff who are easily identifiable as connected to your business, and/or you would like advice as to what policies and procedures you need to have in place to make sure your staff do not damage your brand contact me for a free consultation at

Kleyman & Co Solicitors – the full service law firm – we do it all.