Political Expression

News & Analysis as of

Employees, Political Advocacy and the NLRB – What Can an Employer Do?

In the first few weeks of the Trump Presidency, there have been numerous marches, protests and other forms of political advocacy expressing views both in support of and in opposition to the President’s various appointments,...more

Dear Littler: Can A Boss Fire Someone for Off-Duty Political Activities?

Dear Littler: I saw one of my employees on the local news the other night participating in a political rally over the weekend. We try to maintain a tension-free workplace. Can I discipline him for this conduct? Can I at least...more

A Post-Election Survival Guide For Employers

In the two months since the culmination of what many call the most bitterly contested presidential election in American history, employers are already reporting the conflict among employees is unlike any other in modern...more

Leave The Political Boxing Gloves At The Office Door

We love a good political fight, but dealerships would be well-advised to check the gloves at the office door and instead heed the wisdom offered long ago by Calvin Coolidge: “No man ever listened himself out of a job.”...more

What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know Before Advocating a Political Agenda

A Brief Case Study: Your nonprofit’s founder sends out an email in their official capacity to all of its members urging the them to vote for or against a political candidate or for or against a local proposition. It may...more

Did You Know…SCOTUS Ruling on Personnel Decision based upon Perceived Political Affiliation Impacts Public Employers

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled on a matter involving “perceived affiliation”, bringing clarity to the matter, where the circuits provided discordant rulings. As a result, personnel actions based upon even mistaken...more

Employer Guide for Election Season

The 2016 presidential election season has provided fodder for often impassioned conversations among friends, family and co-workers. While we may not always agree with all points of view, it is important to remember that...more

Political Speech in the Workplace

The upcoming presidential election between two larger-than-life characters, each capable of stirring intense emotional reactions from both sides, is sure to produce some spirited debate around the water cooler this fall. ...more

Trending Now: Political Activities and Social Media

The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign has reached a fevered pitch, with a little over a month remaining before Election Day. After Monday’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the stakes are high and the American...more

Election 2016: Political Speech and Activity in the Workplace

On November 8, voters across the country will head to the polls to determine the next president. Some states have already begun the early voting process. Voters will also decide who fills various U.S. congressional seats,...more

You Can't Say That! Or Can You? - Discussing Politics at Work

The 2016 presidential election season has been particularly divisive, with candidates trading insults on a regular basis. Naturally, conversations about politics and candidates spill over into the workplace. A recent survey...more

From sports and entertainment to politics and social justice—when worlds collide in your workplace

It’s everywhere. Whether you like it or not, you can’t escape it. While the topics of politics and social justice are undoubtedly important discussions to have in our country, the reality is that they now seem ever present....more

Political discrimination and accommodation in the workplace

The British Columbia Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination against employees because of their political beliefs. At the same time, employees are bound by the duty of loyalty to their employers. What happens, then, when...more

Politics in the Workplace: What Must Employers Allow?

Everyone has experienced both "workplace politics," in which Type A employees claw their way to the top at the expense of co-workers, and "politics in the workplace," in which employees discuss candidates for office and...more

New IRS Notification Requirement for Certain 501(c)(4)s

The IRS published temporary proposed regulations on July 12, 2016 that will impact all 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations formed after July 8, 2016. The proposed regulations will also impact many existing 501(c)(4)...more

Supreme Court Extends Public Sector Employees' First Amendment Rights

A public sector employee may now have a First Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim even where the public sector employee has not engaged in protected First Amendment political activity. This may be the case if a public...more

Cooling hot political buttons

During every political campaign, I am reminded of the notion that if we speak about our co-workers or subordinates in the manner in which the American voter speaks about political candidates, we should expect some remediation...more

Uber hit with class action case for sending political texts to customers

Uber Technologies, Inc. was hit with another class action lawsuit last week for allegedly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) when it sent text messages to its customers without prior written consent....more

Misread Signs: U.S. Supreme Court Finds Employer’s Mistaken Belief about Employee Supports Retaliation Claim

Is it still retaliation if your boss fired you for something you didn’t actually do? In Heffernan v. City of Paterson, New Jersey, the U.S. Supreme Court said yes—your boss’s mistake does not get him off the hook for the...more

Demotion Based on Mistaken Belief Deprives Public Employee of Constitutional Rights

U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Case Involving Political Campaigning Accusations - A government agency violated the constitutional rights of an employee who was demoted based on the mistaken belief that he violated the...more

But I Didn’t Mean To! U.S. Supreme Court Says Employer Intentions Govern in First Amendment Retaliation Case

For government employers, disciplining and terminating employees can be especially difficult. Not only does the public employer face the same challenges in complying with the standard alphabet soup of employment laws that...more

Public Employer May Not Retaliate Against Employee Based on Perception that He Engaged in Political Activity

On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court held that a public employee could sue his employer for retaliation where the employer demoted him for engaging in constitutionally-protected political activity, even though the employer was...more

Supreme Court: Government Employer’s Incorrect Belief About Employee’s Activity Matters in First Amendment Analysis

A government employer can violate an employee’s constitutional rights by acting based on incorrect information that, if true, would violate the U.S. Constitution, even though the employee was not actually exercising his or...more

Schilling Firing: Can You Fire An Employee for What They Say on Social Media?

This week ESPN fired pitcher-turned-broadcaster Kurt Schilling for an allegedly offensive tweet about the recently passed law in North Carolina requiring persons to use the restroom associated with the sex of their birth. As...more

Don’t Let Politics Disrupt Your Workplace

I recently wrote an article for the Houston Business Journal on this subject, which can be found here. With the 2016 election campaign already going strong, now is a good time to review company policies in this area to...more

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