Labor: Politics in the workplace in an election year

Avoid trigger-happy decisions when it comes to regulating or disciplining political speech or activities

Fall typically brings distractions to the workplace, from some employees monitoring fantasy football statistics online to others discussing their kids’ back-to-school issues around the water cooler. In a big election year such as 2012, however, there is an intensified discourse on politics and all things related, as the current realities of a 24/7 news cycle and the ease of access to information that social media brings adds to an already hot debate.   

But like many other areas in employer-employee relations, it is critical for companies to develop the proper mindset when it comes to understand what employee conduct they can regulate and when they should take a step back. As a general principle, private-sector employees have no constitutional right to free speech or political expression in the workplace. Yet, there are other areas in which they have protection.

Contributing Author

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Michael Schmidt

Michael C. Schmidt is a member of Cozen O'Connor and practices in the firm’s Labor & Employment Group. He concentrates in representing management in...

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