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Political Expression at Work: Limit Distractions, but Allow Free Speech

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in Firing,Human Resources

THE LAW. The run-up to a national or local election can spark heated debate around the watercooler. Through no fault of yours, such a politically charged atmosphere can cause distractions and, in some cases, disputes and lawsuits.

Your organization has the legal right to control employees’ activities on the job. That includes putting a stop to political activism or political solicitations on the job. Employees are there to work, not to rally support for a candidate.

Don’t allow employees to claim that the First Amendment lets them say anything they want. Contrary to popular belief, the First Amendment doesn’t protect free speech in a private-sector workplace.

Where trouble can start, however, is if a court decides that your company retaliated against an employee because of his or her political expression. Why? Protecting an employee’s freedom of political expression is an important “public policy” concern, on par with pr...(register to read more)

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