Question of the Month

March 2018

Question
Does your area have any laws concerning political activity inside/outside the workplace?
Answer from Alabama

Not in the private sector.

For more information please contact David Middlebrooks at dmiddlebrooks@lehrmiddlebrooks.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from California

California Labor Code section 1102 makes it unlawful for employers to “coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.” In addition, employees may take up to two hours of paid leave to vote if they do not have enough time to do so in their non-work hours. Employees are required to provide two working days’ notice of their need for leave.

For more information please contact Michael Foster at mfoster@fosteremploymentlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Hawaii

No in Hawaii.

For more information please contact Sarah Wang at SWang@marrjones.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Kentucky

KRS 18A.140(4) prevents all employees in classified service with the Commonwealth of Kentucky from holding political office and from taking part in the management of political parties or campaigns, although it does allow them to be candidates in nonpartisan elections.

KRS § 121.310 prevents an employer from coercing his or her employees into voting a certain way, but that law has been determined to be unconstitutional as applied to a state employee.  State Registry of Election Fin. v. Blevins, 57 S.W.3d 289 (Ky. 2001).

For more information please contact Jacob Crouse at jwc@smithandsmithattorneys.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Maryland

None applicable to private employers, other than providing up to two hours of paid leave for voting if the employee does not otherwise have time to vote outside of working hours.

For more information please contact Fiona Ong at fwo@shawe.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Massachusetts

No in Massachusetts.

For more information please contact Marylou Fabbo at mfabbo@skoler-abbott.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Michigan

Michigan prohibits public employees from engaging in political activities during those hours when the employee is being compensated as a public employee.  MCL 15.404, see also MCL 400.90.  Michigan’s Bullard Plawecki Employee Right To Know Act, MCL 423.508 prohibits employers from gathering or keeping a record of an employee’s off-duty and off-premises associations or political activities unless submitted or authorized by the employee, but the prohibition expressly does not apply to on-duty or on-premises activities that interfere with the performance of the employee’s duties or duties of others.

For more information please contact David Masud at dmasud@masudlaborlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Minnesota

Yes.  Minnesota law prohibits “economic reprisals or threatened loss of employment . . against an individual because of that individuals’ political contributions or political activity.”  Minn. Stat. 10A.36.

For more information please contact Tom Revnew at TRevnew@seatonlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Missouri

Missouri law prohibits employers from using any force or coercion to attempt to prevent employees from engaging in political activities, including holding public office, and political campaigning or fundraising. Employers that violate this section are guilty of a class four election offense and face a maximum fine of $2,500, a year in prison, or both.

For more information please contact Stephen Maule at maule@mcmahonberger.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Nevada

Yes.  Nevada prohibits an employer from preventing any employee from engaging in politics or becoming a candidate for any public office in the state.  Nevada Revised Statutes 613.040.

For more information please contact Scott Abbott at sabbott@kzalaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from New York

Yes. Pursuant to New York Labor Law Section 201-d, it is generally unlawful for any employer or employment agency to refuse to hire, employ, license, or to discharge from employment or otherwise discriminate against an individual in compensation, promotion or terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of an individual’s political activities outside of working hours, off of the employer’s premises and without use of the employer’s equipment or other property, if such activities are legal. “Political activities” means (1) running for public office, (2) campaigning for a candidate for public office, or (3) participating in fund-raising activities for the benefit of a candidate, political party or political advocacy group.”

For more information please contact Amanda Baker at abaker@cfk-law.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from North Carolina

There are no such provisions which are specifically applicable to private sector employers.  There are statutes protecting public sector employees from discrimination based on political activity and affiliation.

For more information please contact Bryan Adams at bryan.adams@vradlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Oregon

Yes.  Oregon law has restrictions regarding political activity in both the public and private sectors.

As a general premise, Oregon law prohibits the use of public funds, equipment and supplies to advocate for or against a candidate or political measure.  Public employees on their work time may not solicit or collect funds, distribute campaign materials, gather signatures or encourage others to in any way assist political campaigns.  Further, public employers may not use “undue influence” to induce anyone to register or vote or refrain from registering or voting (including in a particular manner) or to contribute or render services or refrain from contributing or rendering services to any candidate, initiative, referendum, political party, or political committee.

Both private and public sector employers are prohibited from actually or threatening to discharge, discipline or take adverse action against an employee because the employee refuses to attend an employer-sponsored meeting if the primary purpose of the meeting is to communicate the employer’s opinion about political or religious matters.

For more information please contact Mitch Cogen at mcogen@bullardlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has enacted a statute that prohibits a person or corporation from:

a) threatening or otherwise intimidating or coercing any person in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting at any election, or to vote or refrain from voting for or against any particular person or ballot question;

b) by abduction, duress or coercion, or any forcible or fraudulent device or contrivance, interfere with the free exercise of the right to vote, or to vote or refrain from voting for or against any particular person or ballot question;  or

c) for an employer to:
i. pay employees wages due in envelopes “upon which or in which there is written or printed any political motto, device, statement or argument containing threats, express or implied, intended or calculated to influence the political opinions or actions of such employees”; or
ii. within ninety days of any election or primary election, post or exhibit in the workplace “any handbill or placard containing any threat, notice, or information that if any particular ticket or candidate is elected or defeated work in his place or establishment will cease, in whole or in part, his establishment be closed up, or the wages of his employees reduced, or other threats, express or implied, intended or calculated to influence the political opinions or actions of his employee.”

See 25 P.S. § 3547 (2017).

Pennsylvania has not enacted a statute protecting private sector employees from adverse employment actions based on political activity within or outside the workplace.

For more information please contact John Ellis at jellis@ufberglaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Texas

None in Texas, but there are laws that prohibit retaliation against employees based on political affiliation or choices, or retaliation based on political affiliation

For more information please contact John Freeman at jfreeman@keyharrington.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Virginia

Under Va. Code § 24.2-118.1, employers are prohibited from discharging or taking other adverse action against employees who serve as election officers.  Employers also may not require employees to use sick leave or vacation time as a result of their absence from employment due to their service as election officers, so long as the employees provided the employer reasonable notice of their service.  An employee who serves four (4) or more hours, including travel time, on his day of election service cannot be required to start any work shift that begins on or after 5:00pm on the day of service or before 3:00am on the day following the day of service.  Employers who violate this provision are guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

In addition, under Va. Code § 15.2-1512.2, employees of Virginia localities, including firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, law-enforcement officers, or deputies, appointees, and employees of local constitutional officers, may not be prohibited from participating in political activities while they are off duty, out of uniform, and not on the premises of their employment with the locality.  The statute defines “political activities” broadly, including activities such as voting; soliciting votes on behalf of political candidates; expressing opinions on candidates or political subjects; displaying political signs, pictures, etc.; contributing financially to a party or candidate; attending a convention; becoming a candidate; and other activities.

For more information please contact Michael Lorenger at MLorenger@lorengercarnell.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Wisconsin

Wisconsin law provides that employees may have three hours to vote, with no penalty other than deduction for lost time.  Wis. Stat. § 6.76.  Employers must also allow employees to serve as elected officials.  An employee serving as an elected official is entitled to unpaid leaves of absence for the full 24 hours of election day.  State employers must provide paid leave for this purpose.  Wis. Stat. § 7.33.  Finally, under Wisconsin law, an employer may not take adverse action against employees for refusing to attend a meeting or participate in communications about political matters.  Wis. Stat. § 111.365.

For more information please contact Laurie Petersen at LPetersen@lindner-marsack.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Washington

In Washington, employers cannot discriminate based on support for or opposition to a particular candidate, poliical party, or political activity.  In addition, employers cannot interfere with efforts to support or oppose a referendum, recall, or other initiative.  The City of Seattle prohibits discrimination based on political ideology, which is broadly defined.

For more information please contact Ken Diamond at ken@winterbauerdiamond.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

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