Federal law offers everyone protection to express their views and beliefs freely. However, the law does not protect individuals from retaliation in private businesses. If you are from New Jersey and are fired for expressing your political opinions, you may need to look beyond the Constitution. The state of NJ offers no such protections.
You might wonder if it is even legal to be fired for something like this when you have the right to freedom of speech. As an employee, you might have certain rights that you may be unaware of. The best thing to do in this situation is to hire an experienced employment attorney. Click here to learn more.
Can my employer ban political discussions in the workplace?
Yes. Employers have the right to take action and set workplace policies that benefit everyone working there in order to maintain a good work environment. Political beliefs and opinions often create a hostile environment and can hinder productivity. Especially nowadays, people tend to get offended upon disagreement and develop hostility.
Therefore, employers may be allowed to implement policies restricting political speeches and discussions. They may also prohibit wearing signs and symbols of political parties in the workplace. For example, wearing a shirt with “Vote for X” may be banned.
However, if an employee is terminated for merely having a political belief or opinion, it is illegal. If they were not discussing it with anyone or being offensive, they were not doing something wrong. For example, opposing the death penalty. Your employer cannot fire you for not supporting the death penalty.
What about your free speech rights?
American citizens have free speech rights. However, the rights have been confused. The laws only prohibit the government from interfering to limit one’s speech. However, there are no laws regarding private-sector employers or business owners.
What to do if you have been fired due to your political views?
If you have been terminated for expressing your political views, take the following steps:
- Review employment contracts and policies.
- Understand the laws: Even though there are no protections for private employees, there could still be certain rights you are overlooking.
- Consult an attorney: Do not take any steps before you consult with an attorney about the situation.
If you believe you are the victim of workplace discrimination, you should talk to an attorney today. Consulting with someone well-versed in labor laws can be greatly helpful. If you have suffered from damages due to the termination, your attorney can help you recover those as well.