A difficult issue faced by many employers is how to address political activities and expression by employees in the workplace. Politics can often be divisive and political discussions can result in tension between employees, reduced productivity and less focus on an employee’s work tasks. So can employers limit when employees are permitted to talk politics? What if the employer has strongly held political beliefs? Can the employer use employee meetings or other work communications to solicit support for the employer’s views? Can an employer reimburse employees for making contributions to certain political causes? These and other questions are addressed in this topic.
Many employees mistakenly believe that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the employee’s freedom of speech while at work. The First Amendment, however, generally applies only to government restrictions on speech and does not apply in private workplaces. Although employees are free to express their opinions on their own time, with limited exceptions, there are no legal protections for an employee’s expression of their political beliefs in a private workplace.
Many existing employment policies may limit political discussions to the extent that the political views may relate to gender,...
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