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Discipline for Off-Duty Conduct


Political expression by employees takes many forms—from friendly office banter to shouting matches that disrupt the workplace. Off-duty political expression can run the gamut, too, from yard signs supporting certain causes or candidates to unlawful activity, such as what the nation witnessed on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol building.

When can employees who've engaged in disruptive political expression be disciplined? Employers must tread carefully, as there are constitutional protections for public-sector employees and some state law protections for private-sector workers. But employees who break the law, violate an employer's policy, disrupt work or harm an employer's reputation all may be subject to discipline, including termination, legal experts say.

Read the rest of the article:
Firing Workers When Political Expression Goes Too Far
SHRM | Jan 2021

Questions and Answers on Employment Issues During External Protests
SHRM | Jun 2020

What to Do If an Employee Is Arrested During a Protest
SHRM | Jun 2020

When Employees Become Activists
SHRM | Jun 2020

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Can Employees Be Fired for Off-Duty Conduct?
Firing for Online Behavior
Minding Employee Behavior Off the Clock and Off the Premises
SHRM | Various dates

Discrimination Laws Regarding Off-Duty Conduct
National Conference of State Legislatures

Law Firm Articles

Can Employers Fire Rioters? Employers’ Rights in Policing Employee Off-Duty Conduct and Employment Law Consequences of the Capitol Riots
Ogletree | Jan 2021

Can Employers Terminate for Off-Duty Conduct (Say, Like Storming the Capitol)?
Shawe Rosenthal | Jan 2021

Employers' Response to Racial Unrest
Ford Harrison | Jun 2020

Political Speech, Conduct & Activity in the Workplace Amid A Social Justice Movement
Bradley Arant | Jun 2020

An Employer's Guide to Navigating Offensive Off-Duty Employee Conduct
Miles & Stockbridge | Jun 2020

What Can You Do About an Employee's Off-Duty Social Media Posts?
Felhaber | Jun 2020

Protest Attendance and COVID-19 Concerns

Employers should continue to follow their internal practices regarding screening employees for COVID-19 infection in the workplace regardless of the employee's participation in protests. Asking employees about their lawful off-duty conduct and/or denying work due to such conduct could be problematic. Instead, employers may want to give employees the ability to take paid time off or to work remotely after engaging in activities where social distancing isn't observed.
Questions and Answers on Employment Issues During External Protests
SHRM | Jun 2020

Employees and employers are concerned about whether those employees who are taking part in protests risk infecting their coworkers with COVID-19.
Preparing For Protesters To Return To Work: Employer Do's And Don'ts
Fox Rothschild | Jun 2020

Employers who choose to monitor off-duty conduct may be legally permitted to send home workers who aren't social distancing off duty, if the policy is applied consistently. However, some think this approach isn't practical and recommend alternatives.
Should You Monitor Workers Who Aren't Social Distancing Off Duty?
SHRM | May 2020

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