Can You Be Fired For Your Political Views?

Can You Be Fired For Your Political Views

In today’s environment, many people are arguing about politics. Politics are a hot-button topic, leading to some potentially volatile situations. It can be especially uncomfortable if your political view differs from that of your employer or from the rest of the workers at your job. You might wonder if it is legal for you to be fired because of your politics and how free speech might factor in. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler believe that it is important for you to understand how politics might be used as a reason for firing you.

Your boss is allowed to fire you because of politics

Pennsylvania and New Jersey are both at-will employment states. Unless you meet an exception to the at-will rule, your employer can fire you for any legal reason at any time. Your employer would be able to terminate you legally simply because your boss doesn’t like the political views that you’ve expressed online or at work. If your employer is using your political views to mask a discriminatory reason, then it would be illegal. For example, if you are fired because of political discussions concerning religion, race or gender issues, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit depending on what happened.

Free speech rights

Many people have mistaken beliefs about the protections of the First Amendment. The First Amendment prohibits the government from taking actions to limit speech. Private-sector employers are private actors. This means that since no governmental action is involved in your workplace if you are in the private sector, the protections of the First Amendment won’t apply.

At-will employment exceptions

Some workers are not at-will employees because they meet an exception, including the following:

  • Some civil service workers who work in jobs requiring a just cause for termination
  • Employees under a collective bargaining agreement
  • People with signed employment contracts

Contact Swartz Swidler to learn more about your rights

If you were fired for expressing your political views but believe that your employer really terminated you because of a prohibited reason, you may have the grounds to file a wrongful termination or discrimination claim. To learn more about your rights, contact the experienced employment law team at Swartz Swidler today to schedule your consultation.