Law Firm Associate Terminated for Anti-Israel Letter

David Lat (Judicial Notice) writes, and I agree with him (at least assuming, as press accounts suggest, that Kiros was indeed fired for the viewpoint expressed in her open letter):
For a similar criticism by David Lat of law firms retaliating against lawyers for their skepticism about Roe v. Wade, see this 2022 post.
One possible quibble: It’s an interesting question whether New York law forbids discrimination based on off-duty speech, on the theory that such speech is “recreational.” The statute, N.Y. Lab. Law § 201-d, provides,
(A separate provision, discussed at p. 327 of this article, protects election- and party-related political activities.) The treatment of “reading and the viewing of television, movies, and similar material” as “recreational activities” suggests that writing material might likewise be viewed as recreational (especially when it’s not done for pay).
One court decision has indeed treated “recreational activities” as including arguing about politics at a social function, Cavanaugh v. Doherty, 243 A.D.2d 92, 100 (N.Y. App. Div. 1998), but another has held that picketing is not sufficiently “recreational” to qualify. Kolb v. Camilleri, No. 02-CV-0117A(Sr), 2008 WL 3049855, at *13 (W.D.N.Y. Aug. 1, 2008). El-Amine v. Avon Products, Inc., 293 A.D.2d 283 (N.Y. App. Div. 2002), allowed plaintiff’s case to go forward based on claims that defendant had “fired him because of his political activities—in particular, because of his participation in a political funeral honoring Matthew Shephard” (see opinion below), even though that sort of political activity wouldn’t literally be covered under the narrow definition of political activity discrimination under New York law.
I’ve seen other recent cases filed alleging that off-duty ideological advocacy should count as “recreational” and thus protected from firing (much as it would be in some other states, including California, under their differently worded laws). Perhaps we’ll see some cases definitely resolving this important legal question.