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Politics in the workplace — Pennsylvania

Every election year workplaces experience an increase in political discussion amongst employees. Sometimes these discussions can get heated especially where co-workers have differing political views and outlooks. Employers have a real interest in addressing this subject because of the impact on their workers. The American Psychological Association reported that during the 2020 Presidential election campaign, more than two-thirds (68%) of U.S. adults claimed that the election was a significant source of stress in their lives. This was a large increase from 2016; then 52% said the same. The proportion of Black adults reporting the election as a source of stress jumped from 46% in 2016 to 71% in 2020. Since then, studies have shown that political polarization has gotten much more pronounced. Just what should and can an employer do to curb political discussion and activity in the workplace? This topic aims to reveal just that.

Limiting political expression in the workplace

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution governs free speech rights. However, the First Amendment’s protections apply only to governmental action. Therefore, private employers have the ability to regulate political discourse in the workplace, subject to employee rights to engage in concerted action for mutual aid or protection under the...

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