Can You Be Fired For Your Participation In Political Events?
As Americans, you have First Amendment Rights that protect your freedom of speech. With the political climate in the state that it is in currently, one may wonder about how employment can be affected by simply attending a political event. In some instances, employees have been fired from his or her job from simply attending a rally for specific political figures. But, is it legal to do so? The following are some things to keep in mind when it comes to discrimination at work based on your attendance of political events:
Are You Attending or Engaging?
One thing to keep in mind when going to an event is if you are merely attending the event or engaging in some form of action. This action can be defined as protest, violence, or other forms of activism at the event. Attendance would simply refer to being there in the background observing but not necessarily engaging in any particular activity.
Are Employment Decisions Made Based on Political Activity?
In some states, there are laws that will ban any employment decisions that are based on political activity. These are regarding those who are merely participating in political activities in a non-violent and non-threatening way. If you are arrested at an event because you were violent or broke the law in some way, your employer has the option to terminate you based on a company policy on arrests and law enforcement issues.
In most states, however, an employer cannot fire you for having certain political affiliations. You cannot be coerced into voting a certain way by your employer. This includes any threats made to you regarding lowering your hourly wages or the amount of time you work in a pay period. This is illegal and should be dealt with by your attorney.
If you are on your free time and are taking part in a political event that is lawful and non-violent, your employer may not fire you under the First Amendment.
What About At-Will States?
At-will states are a little more complicated. At-will states allow employers to fire employees for almost any reason at all. Under the law, you are employed at-will of the employer, meaning you can be terminated at any time should the employer choose to do so. All employers in at-will states will have the policy and a copy of the law in the employee handbook for you to review upon hire. The signature on your application means that you read the policy and understand that you are applying in an at-will state. It can be difficult to regain your employment in these areas, even if you are discriminated against.
However, you do have the option of taking your employer to court if you feel you were terminated due to your political affiliation. Be sure to discuss it thoroughly with your attorney so that he or she can build a strong case and hopefully get you a fair settlement. For more information, contact a company like Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C..