Many Americans exercise their first amendment right to free speech, and believe that this right covers them from punitive action at work. The first amendment, however, only protects citizens from government action, not action but companies or corporations. California does have laws in place to protect workers from discrimination due to their political affiliations and activities. Learn more about your rights and protections for expressing your political beliefs at work.
Political Activities and Affiliations in the Workplace
California protects workers from discriminatory treatment by their employers due to their political views, but there are exceptions. If you participate in a political activity that conflicts with your employer’s business model, you may risk your job. You also may not pursue political activity at work if the activity interferes with your productivity there. Your employer is well within their rights to fire or demote you if this occurs.
You are protected by state and federal laws if you discuss labor issues, such as wages, working conditions, or expressing your preference for certain candidates who support labor issues. Even in a non-union workplace, you are permitted to exchange information and opinions with your coworkers on labor issues. Your employer may not retaliate against these exchanges.
It is legal for you to express your political opinions in the workplace, but your employer may not control your political activities or affiliations. If your supervisor threatens termination or demotion if you fail to engage in certain political activities or actions, they are behaving unlawfully. Your employer may not interfere with your political actions.
Political Activities and Affiliations Out of Workplaces
Your political activities and opinions are your own, and cannot be controlled when you are off the clock. Your employer is barred from enforcing any rule, regulation, of policy that hinders your right to run for public office or participate in political activities outside of working hours, according to California law. While they cannot prevent you from pursuing political office or activities, your employer may fire you if this activity affects your performance at work.
As an employee, you have certain protections from discrimination by your employer, but you do not have complete protection. Ensure that your activities don’t interfere with your productivity or ability to work, so your employer doesn’t have grounds to punish you for your political beliefs. If your employer or supervisor threatens punishment for expressing your beliefs or participating in politics, contact an experienced employment law attorney. They can help you determine if the threats or actions of your employer are illegal, and defend your rights.
If you have faced discrimination, demotion, or termination as a result of your political beliefs, contact Polaris Law Group today. Our firm is devoted to protecting the rights of workers and we will fight tirelessly for your case. Our Hollister employment law lawyer, Bill Marder, has over 20 years of experience defending employees from discrimination. Contact Polaris Law Group to schedule a free initial consultation.