It seems like people are more politically vocal now than ever before. While you have a First Amendment right to free speech, your employer might not take kindly to your political views. In these situations, employers often base their employment actions based on an employee’s political affiliation or political speech. Fortunately, these actions are against the law and could justify striking back at an employer who has wronged you.
California’s employment law on political affiliation
California takes free speech seriously. As a result, it has implemented a state law that disallows employers from making and/or enforcing any policy or rule that prevents employees from participating in politics. Your employer also can’t prevent you from running for political office. Even trying to direct your political actions is against the law.
Some employers are overt in trying to coerce your actions, by telling you that you need to vote a certain way or not engage in politics outside or work unless you want to be fired, but there are subtler ways, too. If you’ve received email correspondence, warnings, or discipline that you think is tied to your political affiliation, speech, or actions, then you need to take a closer look to better determine if your employment rights have been violated.
Speak up for yourself and your rights
Some people are diligent about being apolitical at work so as to avoid confrontation. It’s these individuals who are most surprised when they subjected to wrongful termination for no apparent reason other than their political activity outside of work. If this has happened to you, then you might be entitled to compensation for the damages caused to you. This might include lost wages, emotional pain and suffering, and maybe even punitive damages to punish your employer for breaking the law. These matters aren’t always easy to prove, though, which is why you might want to work closely with your attorney to build the strongest case possible.