Free Speech in the Workplace: Is a Company Ever Justified in Demoting Publicly Prominent Employees on the Basis of Expressed Personal Beliefs?

Date(s) - 09/23/2014
11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Freedom Forum Conference Center, Carroll Hall

eichBrendan Eich developed the coding language JavaScript and helped found the Mozilla Foundation, an open source wing of Netscape. In 2005, Eich became chief technology officer of Mozilla Corporation, the foundation’s profit-making arm. In 2014, Eich was made CEO. After 11 days, Eich resigned under pressure from employees, consumers and board members. Eich was forced out because of money he donated in support for California’s Proposition 8, a ballot initiative to change the state’s constitution to include a provision that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Was Eich’s firing ethical? The UNC Ethics Bowl Team will debate this and related questions, and then the audience will be invited to join in. The Freedom Forum Conference Center is on the third floor of Carroll Hall.

These are the student debaters:

  • Benjamin Brindis, a junior, major undecided
  • Andrew Burchins, a senior political science and philosophy major
  • Waylon Ferrell, a junior philosophy major
  • Laura Georgescu, a junior philosophy major
  • Mathew Hopkins, a junior philosophy and political science major
  • Joshua Olsen, a senior philosophy major
  • David Pingree, a senior journalism and mass communication major
  • Siyu Zhao, a sophomore philosophy major

The Ethics Team is coached by Sam Reis-Dennis, a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy and research assistant at UNC’s Parr Center for Ethics. For more about the UNC Ethics Bowl Team and other programs of the Parr Center for Ethics, contact us at or 919-843-5641 or visit

Tagged: 1AD2014, First Amendment Day, Free Speech, Panels
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