Can Employees Be Fired For Their Political Beliefs?
An Orange County employment lawyer provides help to employers in understanding their obligations under California law to workers whom they employ. An attorney who handles employment law cases will also represent employees who have been damaged in some way by an employer’s failure to follow the rules. For example, if an employer did not pay a worker a fair wage as required by law, an employment law attorney could help bring a wage and hour claim.
There are many different protections afforded to employees under the laws in the state of California. One of those protections is a protection against being wrongfully terminated. While employees are generally at will employees in California unless they have an employment contract (which means they can be fired for any reason or for no reason at all), there are certain things an employer is not allowed to take into consideration when making decisions on hiring, firing, and promotions. Those things include race, gender, religion, and national origin— all of which both state and federal anti-discrimination laws prohibit employers from considering.
One question that many employees have about wrongful termination, especially in these turbulent political times, is whether or not an employee can be fired for his political beliefs. The answer to this question can vary by state and based on the type of political activity in question. In general, however, an employer cannot fire a worker for many different kinds of political actions – and an employer could be sued for wrongful termination if the employer violates the law by trying to someone over political disagreement.
Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can advise employers on what the rules are when it comes to political expression in the workplace, and can represent employees who believe they may have been fired or discriminated against as a result of their politics.
Can an Employee be Fired for Political Beliefs in California?
California Labor Code section 1101 restricts employers from making rules, adopting rules, or enforcing rules, regulations or policies affecting certain types of political behavior. For example, employers are not allowed to forbid employees or prevent employees from running for office, participating in politics, or engaging in political activity.
Employers are also prohibited from making any attempts to control the political affiliations or political activities of any employee. Basically, this broad clause protects most of what employees do in connection with politics so employers cannot retaliate against workers who may express political beliefs that differ from those the employer believes are best.
There are also other legal protections for certain kinds of activities employees may engage in which could potentially be viewed as forms of political activity. For example, employees are allowed to try to organize unions in their workplace, to lodge complaints about working conditions, and to report unlawful behavior to appropriate government entities if employers are violating any rules and regulations. If an employer tries to take retaliatory action against a worker because that employee has tried to convince co-workers to join a union or has made complaints about work conditions, an employer may also be acting wrongfully under these circumstances.
Not every state provides explicit protection, or any protection, for the expression of political beliefs. Since California does have this regulation in place, it gives workers more protection that they may need if their political views do not happen to align with the views of those employing them.
Getting Help from An Orange County Employment Lawyer
If you are an employer and are crafting a policy on political involvement among staff members, or if you have members on staff who are engaging in political activity and you want to stop this behavior or take other specific workplace actions, you need to tread carefully in order to avoid violating the labor code. Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can advise you on how the laws apply and on what restrictions you can impose and decisions you can make.
If you are an employee and you believe you have been the victim of unlawful discrimination on the part of your employer due to your political beliefs, you should contact Brown & Charbonneau, LLP. Our legal team can help you to determine if your termination or the adverse employment action taken against you is in violation of the law or not.
If your employer did break the rules when it came to imposing consequences for protected political activity, we can advise you on your best options for pursuing an appropriate remedy. To find out more about the ways in which we can help, give us a call at (866)237-8129 or contact us online.