Can Your Political Beliefs and Actions Hurt You at Work?

Feb 20 2024

Amanda DeMatteis: Hi, Josh.

Josh Goodbaum: Hi, Amanda. What are we talking about today?

DeMatteis: I thought we would talk about politics.

Goodbaum: Uh oh. That can cause some trouble, especially at work. So, what do you wanna say?

DeMatteis: It could cause trouble almost anywhere, but there’s a lot going on in the world and people wanna talk about it, right? Maybe it’s overturning Roe v. Wade. Maybe it’s what’s going on in Gaza. There’s just so much that people really care about, especially with an upcoming presidential election that has the country so divided. So, what if you talk about politics at work and maybe your boss doesn’t like it or a co-worker doesn’t like it? What rights do you have to express these opinions in the workplace?

Goodbaum: This is a great question, Amanda, because we have so much going on in our world today and we are so fortunate, as employees, to work in Connecticut because we have rights that lots of employees around the country don’t have.

For most employees around the country, they think of themselves as having First Amendment rights, but actually, as against their private employers – that is, their non-governmental employers – they probably have very few, if any rights. The First Amendment, remember, only applies as against the government. It doesn’t apply to your private employer. So, if your private employer in Florida, for example, wants to fire you for voting for Donald Trump or not voting for Donald Trump, you might be out of luck.

In Connecticut, though, that’s not the law. Because we have a statute called 31-51Q, and it says that an employer cannot discharge or discipline an employee on the basis of that employee’s exercise of certain constitutionally-protected rights, including the right to freedom of speech, unless that speech substantially or materially interferes with the employee’s performance of their bona fide job duties or the working relationship between the employee and the employer.

So, it might interfere if you’re talking about politics at work. But if you’re talking about politics on social media in your own time, or talking with friends and your employer learns about something that you privately believe or that you’re out on your town green advocating for on the weekends that has nothing to do with work, you almost certainly can’t be fired for or disciplined for that.

So, if you’re having a problem with your political beliefs not aligning with those beliefs of the company you work for or management in your company, it might be time to look up 31-51Q, and it might be time to talk with an employment lawyer because you do have rights in Connecticut.

DeMatteis: Great to know. It’s good to live in the Constitution State if you want to talk about politics at work. Thank you for watching, take care.

Share this Post

amanda dematteis discussing political beliefs at work

About the Author

Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C.

You deserve justice. We are here to fight for you.

Best Lawyers

Let Us Review Your Case

    We will respond to your message promptly. Although we will keep your message strictly confidential, please note that contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.

    Client Experiences

    During a very difficult employment situation, I was referred to Joe Garrison. Recognizing the volatile and time sensitive nature of my employment situation, Mr. Garrison met with me immediately (on the weekend no less). He listened to the details of my case, was able to think through possible creative solutions to offer the employer, and was responsive to my myriad of questions. He understood my concerns about litigation versus settlement, and he worked to find the best resolution possible. I am grateful to have had his support at a very difficult time. —J.C., New Haven, CT

    You will never meet a more knowledgeable and compassionate professional than Steve Fitzgerald. My employment situation was very complex, and Attorney Fitzgerald kept me focused while remaining extremely adept and “thinking on his feet.” Should the need present itself again, I would never seek anyone else’s counsel regarding employment issues. I cannot recommend him highly enough. — J.R., New Haven, CT

    Nina Pirrotti provided outstanding legal advice and was trustworthy, dependable, and responsive. From the start, I was confident that her knowledge and experience would obtain favorable results. On a more personal note, I enjoyed working with her and her staff and felt I was included in every part of the process. The dedication, concern, and interest in me as a client was greatly appreciated, and Nina has earned my highest recommendation. — J.H., Monroe, CT

    I recently found myself in need of a lawyer in handling a dispute with my former employer. I was fortunate to retain Josh Goodbaum as my legal counsel. His legal skills knowledge and professionalism shone through in every step of the process resulting in a very positive result. I highly recommend Josh if you find yourself in need of legal counsel. — S.R., Guilford, CT

    When I go to a lawyer for advice, I am usually anxious, particularly the first meeting. Amanda DeMatteis was clear in describing my options and immediately set me at ease. Realistic assessment is important, and Amanda was clear as to how to set up the case and the direction she felt we should go. I had total confidence in her abilities and knew I was being well represented against a large corporation. More importantly, we were successful! —N.M., Haddam, CT

    Proven Results & Personalized Attention When You Need It Most

    American Law Institute Super Lawyers American College of Trial Lawyers Best Lawyers The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
    Back to Top
    (203) 815-1716