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Employee Experience

Ask HR: Can I Tell Employees Not to Display Political Posters in Their Cubicles?

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

2016.

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

HR


Support Center have addressed at least one part of the “politics at

work” question: can employees display political posters in their

workspaces?

Question:

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.

Section


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

work-related.

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

employees.


Aimee, HR ProAimee

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

companies.


We have a long road ahead to November 2016. Do you have other questions

about politics in the workplace? One entire year of

HR


Support Center is cheaper than just one hour of a typical attorney’s

time.

Contact


us to learn how you can have the power of an attorney on your

side–inexpensively.


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