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Retaliation for Political Activity -- State Laws

If you have experienced retaliation or discrimination at work because of your political beliefs, or political activity, state laws may protect you. Read below for more information about which activities are protected in your state:

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Guam

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Puerto Rico

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Federal laws on Retaliation for Political Activity

 

Alabama

An employer may not use coercion to influence an employee’s vote in an election. Examples of coercion include threatening to fire an employee; reducing an employee’s pay; changing an employee’s schedule or job description in bad faith; or other similar actions.

Alaska

Coercion through threats to inflict damage, harm, or loss to influence a person to vote or refrain from voting in an election is illegal.

Arizona

Employers may not coerce employees to support or not support a referendum or recall. An employer cannot include in compensation materials any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or display any notice within 90 days before an election that directly or indirectly attempts to influence employees to support or not support a candidate.

Arkansas

Threats or efforts to intimidate individuals about whether and how they choose to vote is prohibited.

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California

Employers may not adopt or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy that forbids or prevents employees from taking part in politics or becoming candidates for public office. Employers may no control or direct the political activities or affiliations of employees or threaten to fire an employee for engaging or refusing to engage in certain political activity. Political activity covers any activity related to a candidate or cause.

Colorado

Employers may not threaten to fire employees because on their memberships /connections to a political party; create or enforce a rule or policy to prevent an employee from taking part in politics; or fire an employee for lawful activities that occur off the employer’s premises during nonworking hours.

Connecticut

Employers may not discipline or fire employees for exercising their First Amendment rights. However, there are exceptions for activity that interferes with an employee’s bona fide job performance or working relationship with the employer.

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Delaware

Employers may not coerce or attempt to coerce any person about his or her voting activity.

District of Columbia

Employers may not discriminate against employees based on their affiliation with or support for any political party. An employer is prohibited from threating or intimidating an employee from signing any initiative, referendum, or recall petition, or to vote for or against or abstain from voting on any initiative, referendum or recall.

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Florida

Employers may not fire or threaten to fire employees for their voting activities in any local election. Coercion of an individual about the individual’s registration to vote or other voting activity is prohibited.

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Georgia

Coercing any individual either directly or indirectly in regards to a recall or petition, or intimidating voters through acts reasonably causing the voter to fear for his or her safety is prohibited.

Guam

Employers are guilty of a misdemeanor if, within ninety (90) days of any election, they threat, or intend to influence the political opinions or actions of employees.

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Hawaii

Threatening injury, or interfering with an individual’s right to vote or not vote for a candidate or political party is unlawful.

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Idaho

Attempting to directly or indirectly influence voters by using threats, including threats of firing employees, is illegal.

Illinois

The use of threats or intimidation to prevent any person from supporting or opposing a candidate for public office is unlawful. Additionally, an employer may not maintain records of an employee’s off-duty political activities unless the employee submits written records to the employer and otherwise allows the employer’s collection of such records. Illinois also forbids employment discrimination or retaliation for an employee’s off-duty use of lawful products such as social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Indiana

Threatening to damage a voter’s business to influence how he or she votes is unlawful. Additionally, employers may not include in compensation materials any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees or display in the workplace any notice that threatens to close the business or reduce work and compensation if a candidate gets elected.

Iowa

Threatening or coercing an individual about voting, and signing or not signing a petition is unlawful.

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Kansas

Voter intimidation is strictly prohibited.

Kentucky

Employers may not coerce or direct an employee to vote for any political party or candidate for state office; threaten to fire an employee based on his or her voting activity; spread any communication stating that employees are expected to vote for a particular candidate; or attempt to bribe or otherwise induce employees to vote a certain way in a state election.

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Louisiana

Intimidating and threatening individuals for their political party affiliations is unlawful. Additionally, employers may not allow an employee’s political contributions to affect his or her compensation or employment. Employers with more than 20 employees also may not prevent employees from engaging or taking part in politics, including becoming a political candidate; control or direct employees’ political activities or affiliations; or threaten to fire employees if they support or take part in certain political organizations or activities.

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Maine

There are no applicable politics in the workplace laws.

Maryland

Influencing an individual’s voting activity through intimidation or bribery is unlawful. Employers may not include in compensation materials any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees or display any notice within 90 days before an election that uses threats to influence employees to support or not support a particular candidate, including threats to close the business or reduce work and compensation should a particular candidate get elected.

Massachusetts

Employers may not take harmful employment actions or promise more favorable employment to influence employees about their votes or political contributions.

Michigan

Employers may not fire or threaten to fire employees to influence their voting activities. They are also prohibited from maintaining records of an employee’s political activities unless such employee submits the information in writing to the employer or otherwise authorizes the employer’s collection of the records or the records related to activities that occurred during working hours, or on the employer’s premises and interfered with an employee’s job performance.

Minnesota

Employers may not threaten to fire employees, retaliate financially, or physical coerce an employee to vote for or against a candidate, ballot question or recall petition or as a reprisal for an employee’s political contributions or activities. This does not apply to compensation for employment or loss of employment if the political affiliation or viewpoint of the employee is a bona fide occupational qualification of the employment.

Mississippi

Employers may not interfere with the political rights of employees.

Missouri

Employers may not prevent employees from; engaging in political activities; accepting candidacy for nomination to, election to, or holding of, political office; holding a position as a member of a political committee; soliciting or receiving funds for political purpose; signing or subscribing to any initiative, referendum or recall petition.

Montana

Montana is the only state that bars employers from firing people without good cause. This means that the termination of the employee must be based on reasonable job-related grounds. This includes terminating an employee bases on the employee’s speech or political activity.  Using threats of harm, damage, loss, coercion, or undue influence to coerce individuals in their voting activities is also illegal.

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Nebraska

Employers cannot attempt to coerce employees in voting or political activities or threaten to fire employees because of their political activities or close the business because of election results.

Nevada

Employers may not enact rules or regulations that prohibit employees from engaging in politics or becoming a candidate for any public office in the state. 

New Hampshire

Voting intimidation is prohibited.

New Jersey

Employers may not threaten employees with injury or loss in connection with their voting activities; punish employees in connection with their voting activities; include in compensation materials any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; display any notice within 90 days before an election that threatens to reduce compensation or conduct layoffs depending on election results; or require that employees take part in employer-sponsored meetings about the employer’s political stances.

New Mexico

Employers may not coerce employees through direct or indirect threats of firing or fire them because of their political opinions or voting activities (including voting for or refraining from voting for a specific candidate, party, proposition, question, or constitutional amendment).

New York

Employers may not discriminate against employees because of political activities that take place while off-duty, outside of an employer’s premises, and without the use of employer equipment unless the employee is a professional journalist or a government employee who is partly funded with federal money and thus covered by federal statutory bans on politicking by government employees. An exception is provided for political activities that result in a conflict of interest with an employer’s business interests.

North Carolina

Employers may not directly or indirectly intimidate, fire, or threaten to fire employees because of their voting activities.  Additionally, employers discriminate against employees because of their use of lawful products, which can be broadly defined as things such as blogging software, Twitter, political signs, and other products used to speak.

North Dakota

Employers may not discriminate against employees for engaging in lawful political activities while off-duty and outside of an employer’s premises. An exception is provided for activities that directly conflict with an employer’s essential business interests.

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Ohio

Using intimidation or threats to influence a person to support or oppose a petition or initiative is unlawful. Additionally, employers may not attempt to influence employees’ political beliefs or voting activities.

Oklahoma

Voting intimidation is prohibited.

Oregon

Using undue influence, including job loss threats with the intent to influence individuals’ voting, political activities, and contributions is unlawful.

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Pennsylvania

Employers may not threaten employees with harm or loss to influence their voting activities; include in compensation materials any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or display any notice within 90 days before an election threatening to reduce compensation or conduct layoffs depending on election results.

Puerto Rico

It is unlawful for employers to act with any prejudicial discrimination against an employee because the employee is affiliated with a certain political party.

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Rhode Island

The use of intimidation to influence voting activity in an election is unlawful. Additionally, employers may not display any notice within 90 days before an election threatening to reduce compensation or conduct layoffs depending on election results.

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South Carolina

It is unlawful for an employer to fire a citizen from employment because of their political opinions, exercise of their political rights and privileges guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution and laws of the United States and laws of South Carolina. Political rights and privileges include political party affiliations, political campaign contributions and the right to vote.

South Dakota

The use of threats of harm or loss to intimidate individuals in their voting activities is unlawful.  Employers also may not include in compensation materials any threats or statements intended to influence the political opinions or actions of employees. Additionally, employers may not display any notice within 90 days before an election threatening to reduce compensation or conduct layoffs depending on election results.

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Tennessee

Employers may not coerce or force employees to vote for a certain candidate or in a certain way; fire employees for failing to vote for a certain candidate or in a certain way; or display or otherwise distribute any statement intended to coerce employees to vote for a certain candidate or in a certain way.

Texas

Employers may not retaliate against employees for voting a certain way by reducing or threatening to reduce their compensation or benefits.

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Utah

Threats or actual injury to intimidate another person to vote a certain way is unlawful. Additionally, employers may not include in compensation materials any threats or statements intended to influence the political opinions or actions of employees or, within 90 days before a general election, display any notice containing threats to employees, including threats to reduce their compensation or conduct layoffs.

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Vermont

The use of threats to influence how individuals vote in state elections is prohibited.

Virginia

Political action committees may not use funds obtained through actual or threat of physical force, job discrimination, financial reprisals, or required as a condition of employment.  Additionally, the use of threats or bribery to influence how individuals vote is prohibited.

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Washington

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee for supporting or not supporting a specific candidate, ballot proposition, political party, or political committee. Employers may not interfere with a voter’s efforts to support or oppose a recall, referendum, or other initiative.

West Virginia

Employers may not threaten to reduce employees’ compensation or conduct layoffs depending on election results or otherwise intimidate or threaten employees to influence political views and actions of employees. 

Wisconsin

Employers may not use threats of firing or compensation reduction or promise compensation increases to influence voting rights; discriminate against employees who refuse to take part in employer communications about political matters, or display or circulate communications containing threats to reduce compensation or conduct layoffs depending on election results.  Nor may employers discriminate against employees because of their use of lawful products, which can be broadly defined as things such as blogging software, Twitter, political signs, and other products used to speak.

Wyoming

The use of threats of harm or financial loss to coerce individuals to exercise or refrain from exercising their voting rights or take part or refrain from taking part in political activities is prohibited.