Political Expression

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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

Politics – The Invisible Force Behind China Artist and Art Market

After a period of significant growth from 2009 to 2014, the Chinese art market has experienced a drastic decline in the first half of 2015 with reports that the fine art auction turnover contracted at 30% less than the 2014...more

Yes We CAN (talk about politics in the workplace)

With less than 14 months to go until the 2016 election, news about debates, political faux pas, and myriad guarantees are becoming more and more entrenched in our lives. Which, coincidentally, brings about the oh so common...more

Citizens United and the Surge of Political Non-Profits

It has been five years since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Citizens United v. FEC. When the Supreme Court first decided the case, which allows individuals, corporations and special interest groups to spend unlimited...more

Free Speech: Paris Mayor Off-Message by Threatening Fox News Suit

The scene of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris ten days later. I returned from Paris on Tuesday after a short vacation.  As a bit of a news junky, it was admittedly an exciting time to be there.  When I arrived on Friday, we...more

Alert: Pro-ISIS Hackers Targeting Media Outlets

Recent widely publicized cyberattacks have made clear that nation-state hackers are now hacking companies for political purposes and they appear to be focused on broadcasters and other media companies....more

Political Speech and Activity in the Workplace: The 2014 Midterms are Here

Election season can be a heated time. In many contexts, this can mean arguments with friends, family, and acquaintances. It can also mean added tension and disagreement in the workplace. In some cases, employers may seek...more

Pick Your Passion: State’s Trademark May Be Used To Criticize Its Governor

In Dardenne v. MoveOn.org, the Middle Louisiana Federal District Court faced a conflict between trademark protection, on the one hand, and the First Amendment’s protection of political advocacy, on the other. The Court...more

Can An Employer Force Out An Employee For Unpopular Political Views: The Brendan Eich Story

Brendan Eich resigned his post as CEO of Mozilla, a California-based company, in early April after just 14 days on the job. The reason for his sudden departure and short tenure? It became public that in 2008, Eich...more

Can The Political Concerns Of Corporate Officers Be Of Any Concern Of The Corporation?

Suppose a corporation’s Chief Executive Officer becomes involved in a particularly abhorent (but legal) political movement. Suppose further that the Board of Directors is concerned that the corporation’s stockholders,...more

Will "Get Out the Vote" Drives and Non-Profit Voter Guides Be Treated as Regulated Political Activity?

In late November, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking related to the regulation of political activity by social welfare organizations, commonly known as...more

Public Employees’ Facebook “Like” Is The Internet Equivalent Of A Political Yard Sign

The courts are taking steps to protect communications made via social media; e.g., Ehling v. Monmouth-Ocean Hospital Service Corp., No. 2:11-cv-03305 (D.N.J. Aug 20, 2013) (holding that private Facebook posts are protected...more

Religious Institutions Update: October 2013

The legitimacy of political speech from the pulpit is much debated. Some contend that religious institutions should be silent, because of separation of church and state or the inaccessibility of divine inspiration to...more

House Elections Committee to Consider Campaign Finance Legislation

The Campaign Finance Policy and Technical Bill (H.F. 863 / S.F. 661) will be heard by the House Committee on Elections on March 7. The bill is an initiative of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board...more

Political Affiliation & Protected Speech Retaliation – Sixth Circuit Widens Circuit Split

The Sixth Circuit recently held that Michigan state employees could base First Amendment political-affiliation and protected-speech retaliation claims on their perceived political affiliations, even absent actual affiliations...more

European Court of Human Rights Finds That Greater Protections Are Required For The Political Beliefs Of UK Employees

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), in Redfearn v United Kingdom [2012] ECHR 1878, has held that employment law in the United Kingdom does not adequately protect individuals from dismissal as a result of their...more

"Hey, Take It Outside!" — Politics in the Workplace

Everyone has experienced "workplace politics" (in which Type A employees claw their way to the top while attempting to crush or humiliate coworkers) as well as "politics in the workplace" (in which employees argue about...more

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