Happy Leap Day! The year 2016 includes not only our first Leap Day in
four years, but our first presidential election year in four years. Have
your employees started engaging in political chatter at the office yet?
We all know the conversation is likely to pick up as we get farther into
Politics can be divisive everywhere: with family and friends, on social
media, and especially at the workplace. When it comes to such a
complicated topic, how do you know what rules to set at work?
Fortunately, we’ve got legal experts to consult. The pros at
Support Center have addressed at least one part of the “politics at
work” question: can employees display political posters in their
A new employee has posted political signs on the bulletin board above
his desk. Can we ask the employee to remove them? Or is displaying them
considered an employee right?
Answer from Aimee, HR Pro:
Thank you for your question. Generally speaking, a private employer can
ask an employee to remove political signs—or otherwise limit political
expression in the workplace—as long as they don’t run afoul of protected
Section 7 rights or applicable state laws.
7 of the National Labor Relations Act gives employees the right to
talk about the terms and conditions of their work and the right to
unionize. While this law protects some political activities, it doesn’t
give employees a right to display political signs at their workstations
or the right to discuss, during work hours, politics that aren’t
Employers who decide to limit speech should have and follow a
non-solicitation policy. It is also important to keep in mind that
several states more broadly protect the political speech of employees
while off duty, so employers should focus on workplace behavior and not
on limiting the beliefs or protected outside activities of their
is a recognized leader in the field of Human Resources. Aimee was
previously the Global Director for the Board of Directors of the local
chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. Previously, she
was the HR Director and Global HR and Organizational Effectiveness
Adviser for an international humanitarian relief and development
organization, and worked as an HR consultant to small and mid-sized
We have a long road ahead to November 2016. Do you have other questions
about politics in the workplace? One entire year of
Support Center is cheaper than just one hour of a typical attorney’s
us to learn how you can have the power of an attorney on your
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