Category Archives: Leaves of Absence

Dear Employees: Vote for Our Candidate, or Else . . . ?

In the news this week was a story that candidate Mitt Romney suggested to small-business owners that they might want to encourage their employees to vote for him.

Here in California, I generally caution all employers against suggesting a position on a candidate or a proposition.  The reason is that while employers are free to express their opinions, they cannot demote, suspend, or terminate an employee for lawful conduct, during nonworking hours, away from the employer’s premises.  “Lawful conduct” includes voting in an election – for your candidate or their candidate.  If an employee is disciplined or terminated shortly after an election in which the employer took a strong, public position with employees, the employer may have given the former employee the basis for a lawsuit.

California law also bars termination of employees for engaging in political activities, becoming political candidates, or following or not following a particular course or line of political action, as long as it’s not advocacy of violent revolution.

And remember, California employees can take protected time off of work, if necessary, to vote in a statewide election.

Upcoming presentation (10/17 in Modesto): Leaves of Absence in California

On October 17, 2012, I’ll be giving a program called “Leaves of Absence in California: why cases are brought, what you can do to prevent them, and what changes are coming to the rules”

The program starts at about 2:30, but it is a part of a whole day of great HR topics at the Central Valley Human Resources Management Association’s 2012 Fall Workshop.  Here’s a link with all the details:

http://cvhrma.shrm.org/events/2012/10/2012-annual-fall-workshop-expo