Dealing with workplace politics in the wacky world of the U.S. election

Walking the tightrope between employee preferences and legal requirements
By Jonathan A. Segal
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/31/2016

In just a few days, the U.S. presidential election will take place. You are thinking about that when you see your receptionist wearing a button for her political candidate.

You ask her to remove it because you have customers of diverse political views. She says “No,” promising to file a case with the Supreme Court of the United States because you are violating her First Amendment rights. Note to the Supreme Court: We hope you enjoy her as much as we do.

Well, First Amendment restrictions do not apply to private employers. The First Amendment restricts only government action. So you nicely tell your employee either the button goes or she goes. She walks off the job. Note to file: Discuss reserve for litigation.