Can you be fired for your political views?
Is it legal for an employer to fire you for your political views? Should you be expressing them in the first place?
The recent presidential election and overall political climate has caused many normally calm people to express their passionate views publicly. If you're one of those that stated their views in the work place, whether in a conversation, or in hushed tones, could you get in trouble for it?
Could you be fired for it? The answer may surprise you...
It may depend on the state you live in, but generally, political views are not protected in private sector employment. If a private company doesn't want you to discuss politics on the clock, then they may terminate you employment. That's right, you can be fired for your political views.
The First Amendment and freedom of speech doesn't protect people at private companies. How can you be certain of your rights? There are two main ways to learn what your rights are. The first would be to check your company's policies. The second, is to check your state rights. If you need even more information, consult with an attorney experienced in employment law.
Private companies can create many rules about how you behave while at work. For instance, they can decide what you can and cannot look at on the internet when you are using their computers.
When can you express your political opinions?
You can express your political opinions to others outside of work. You can participate in political events and groups outside of work. As long as you don't bring that participation into work with you, you won't be at risk of getting into trouble with your employer.
If you work in the public sector, you may be protected from discrimination due to political opinions or affiliations. The public sector includes state and federal employees. In these cases, if you were fired for your political views, it may be retaliation, and your employer may have acted illegally.
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