May an employer prevent employees from political campaigning at the workplace in support of a particular political party?
Author: William Denham, Shortt & Nguyen, PC.
Yes. However, an employer should proceed with caution. While there are no federal laws that address political activity in the workplace, the employer right to maintain an effective workplace and employee productivity must be balanced against the employee right to express personal views on political issues. Therefore, an employer may implement a political activity policy that prohibits employees from engaging in political activity during working hours as long as the policy is applied in a uniform manner. In implementing any such political activity policy, an employer must make sure that it does not unlawfully restrict employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
An employer in the public sector may, under certain circumstances, prevent employees from displaying support for a particular political party at work. Courts generally balance the government's need to maintain an effective and efficient workforce against the individual's First Amendment rights and interests to determine if those circumstances exist. An employer should consult the relevant state law.