With the midterm elections around the corner, HR professionals are again faced with the thorny problem of politics in the workplace. In a recent article on the ADP Spark blog, author David Rodeck clarifies a few of the most controversial issues surrounding political expression and solicitation of political donations in the workplace.
Here are the salient points:
- Generally, private sector employers may limit political discussions in the workplace. Rules should be incorporated in a workplace policy and applied consistently to all employees.
- Policy should also exist that covers workplace solicitation, for political and other causes.
- The 2010 Citizens United case removed limits on corporate political spending and affirmed the “personhood” of corporations and corporations’ right to free speech. Corporations may solicit political donations from employees, but participation must be voluntary. Retaliation against employees who fail to participate is prohibited by law.
Apart from the legal aspects of political activity in the workplace, it’s important to consider the wisdom of organizationally-sponsored political expression. In a large organization, employees’ political beliefs can span a wide spectrum. Too much politics in the workplace can create polarization and discord and can be counterproductive to morale and organizational interests.
Note: Articles published or cited in the GEA newsletter are informational and not intended as legal advice. GEA recommends that you consult a legal professional for assistance with your workplace policies.