People Are Divided Over This CEO's Email to GrubHub Employees

November 10th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

GrubhHub CEO Matt Maloney drew the ire of Donald Trump supporters on Thursday after sending a message to his employees condemning the "hateful politics" of the president elect, and urging anyone who disagreed with his message to resign.

Here's part of the letter.

While demeaning, insulting, and ridiculing minorities, immigrants, and the physically/mentally disabled worked for Mr. Trump, I want to be clear that this behavior -- and these views -- have no place at Grubhub. Had he worked here, many of his comments would have resulted in his immediate termination... If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here. We do not tolerate hateful attitudes on our team."

The message inspired mixed reactions on Twitter.

The majority of users seemed to condemn the letter, alleging that it constituted workplace discrimination, and pledging to boycott the company.

Some praised Maloney and vowed to place orders through the service.

After the social media backlash, Maloney clarified in a statement that he "did not ask for anyone to resign if they voted for Trump."

"I would never make such a demand," Maloney wrote. "To the contrary, the message of the email is that we do not tolerate discriminatory activity or hateful commentary in the workplace, and that we will stand up for our employees."

Who can talk politics at work?

The issue of bosses attempting to influence the political preferences of their employees drew national media attention in 2012, when several CEOs distributed letters detailing how the re-election of Barack Obama would hurt their businesses. With a few exceptions, attempting to exert such influence over workers is technically legal.

However, employees don't necessarily enjoy the same freedoms, as Danielle Decourcey wrote for ATTN: back in March:

Boston-based employment law attorney James S. Weliky told ATTN: that employers have a lot of control over your work day.

"An employer can say 'during work time you have to do work stuff," he said.

Generally, your employer can restrict any kind of speech in the workplace, except for a few key exceptions.

“The First Amendment applies only to employees of the government in certain situations, and all citizens when they’re confronted by the government,“ said employment attorney Mark Trapp to Bloomberg Business. “In other words, freedom to speak your mind doesn’t really exist in the workplace.”