If you are like many people, you might think that the federal government prevents your boss from firing you over your political beliefs. After all, isn’t that what the First Amendment is all about?
You might be surprised to learn that federal law does not protect private employees from discrimination or termination based solely on their political beliefs.
Fortunately, many states do protect workers from some types of political discrimination – and California is one of those states. What’s more, an employer cannot use a worker’s politics as a pretext for discriminating against an employee for their race, religion, or other protected traits.
Illegal Discrimination in the Workplace
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits bosses from making job-related decisions based on someone’s race, color, religion, national origin, and gender. Other federal laws make it illegal to discriminate against a worker because of their age, disability, or genetic information. However, these federal laws and many state laws do not protect workers against political discrimination. In other words, employers are free to consider a person’s political beliefs when making job decisions.
What is Political Discrimination?
Political discrimination happens when an employer makes decisions based on a worker’s political beliefs, political party, or civic activities. An employer might refuse to hire someone who votes Republican, for example, or fire an employee who supports gun control. Under federal law, the employer has every right to do this.
But doesn’t the First Amendment protect me from political discrimination?
The First Amendment guarantees the rights to free speech, freedom of the press, free assembly, free exercise of religious beliefs, and the freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances. The First Amendment even protects political views – but only from actions taken by the government itself. In other words, the First Amendment may protect people who work for the federal, state, or local government from political discrimination, but the First Amendment does not offer the same type of protection for people who work for private employers.
California’s Labor Law and Political Beliefs
Under California’s Labor Law Sections 1101 and 1102, an employer cannot legally do any of the following:
- Create or enforce any rule or policy that prevents or forbids workers from participating in politics or running for office
- Create or enforce rules or policies that control or direct employees’ political activities or affiliations
- Threaten workers with termination in an attempt to pressure or influence employees to stop them from engaging in political activity
According to these sections of law, an employer in California cannot take action against a worker based on their political preferences or activities outside of work, but it does not protect the employee’s political beliefs inside the workplace: in other words, an employer may bar their employees from talking with clients or coworkers about politics at work. The employer may also fire employees for promoting political beliefs that the employer does not support.
Contact D.Law For More Information About Employment Law
If you have been fired for your political beliefs, you may have a case of wrongful termination against your former employer, according to California law. You need the help of a qualified employment attorney who will fight for your rights. For more information, contact D.Law. Our employment lawyer in CA can help you get the justice you deserve.