In the United States, political activism is thought of as a right – “freedom of speech” – but corporate America doesn’t always see it that way. Employers are free to write their own policies, including limiting some political participation, even what you do outside of work in some cases.
That may not the best approach for attracting and retaining the best talent, but it may be an unfortunate reality, at least for now.
Recently Fast Company asked me to share my thoughts on the subject for the article, This Is How Political Activism Can Affect Your Job.
Here are some of the highlights in case you missed it:
Get a gut feeling for where your company stands
The best time to figure out whether or not your political activities could cost you your job is before you start. Check out sites like Glassdoor, talk to people you know at the company, or speak directly to HR or recruiters to find out about the workplace culture. For those currently employed, check out the company handbook to find out what policies they have – if any – on employees and political participation.
“Employment at will” makes it possible for you to get fired for any reason
The dominant legal principle in the U.S. is “employment at will,” which means that, unless you’re covered by a union agreement or an employment contract that says otherwise, you can be fired for any reason, or for no reason.
Whether you decide to sue your employer later because you weren’t fired for any legitimate reason is a separate matter. Because you could almost be fired for any reason, you have to be a little cautious and realize that free speech is not – unfortunately – the case once you’re employed.
Have your own litmus test
Political activism is an ongoing issue so know how your opinions at work can affect your career. If you want to be completely conservative, keep a low profile. That said, a lot of people want to express their political views. Decide what’s really important to you.
And never work for a company where you feel you have to suffer in silence.
To read the entire article click here.