Bill of Rights Day Is Dec. 15

U.S. Constitution’s first 10 amendments help shape our workplaces

By Rena Gorlin, J.D. Dec 8, 2016

​This year's Bill of Rights Day, observed on Dec. 15, 2016, marks 225 years since the seminal document was ratified by the states in 1791. The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Among its guarantees are freedom of religion, speech and the press; the right to assemble, petition the government, bear arms and have a jury trial; and protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, cruel and unusual punishment, self-incrimination, double jeopardy (being tried twice for the same offense), and deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law. 

Familiarity with the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge enables SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP credential-holders to recognize how the freedoms, rights and protections granted by the Bill of Rights relate to the workplace in many respects. Relevant behavioral competencies include Ethical Practice and Global & Cultural Effectiveness, and pertinent HR functional areas include U.S. Employment Law & Regulations, Employee Relations, Labor Relations, Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility. 

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Americans are encouraged to recognize Bill of Rights Day with "appropriate ceremonies and activities." The event began in 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt commemorated "the great American charter of personal liberty" on the 150th anniversary of its ratification. In his 2009 proclamation, President Barack Obama said that "certain rights are universal: the freedom of people—including women and ethnic and religious minorities—to live as they choose, speak their minds, organize peacefully and have a say in how they are governed, with confidence in the rule of law." 

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