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What your boss can and can’t do when it comes to politics at work

October 21, 2016, The Washington Post

Lindsay Burke and Robert Lenhard are quoted in a Washington Post article regarding laws governing political communications in the workplace. According to Burke employees of private companies are often surprised they don’t have the First Amendment rights they do outside the workplace. She adds that although companies can’t prohibit workers from talking about labor issues and working conditions during workplace breaks, employers can ban staffers from soliciting donations from their co-workers for political candidates.

However, campaign banter that creates a harassing or discriminatory workplace should get more scrutiny, Burke says. “You can find your way into harassment and discrimination claims if people are parroting the statements or arguments of the candidates in a way that others find offensive.”

Lenhard, commenting on the argument that election law actually permits employers to require workers to participate in certain independent political activities, says, “It leaves me thinking this is an area where there’s litigation in the future that's going to help write these rules a little more clearly than we have them today.”

 

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