In the March 2019 issue of SSA Magazine, Ronald Jacobs and Robin Burroughs were quoted on the legal implications of politics in the workplace and how to navigate issues of free speech, national labor laws, and campaign-finance election laws.
"A lot of people think, it's a free county and I have a right to free speech, but that doesn't really apply in the private workspace, especially when it touches on the protected categories," said Robin Burroughs, associate in the labor and employment practice.
The problem, she said, is there is no clear line to draw when it comes to politics discussed in the workplace. "You have to look at each conversation and see what they are talking about. Are they doing it with other employees? Does this touch on a legally protected category? Is it making its way into the workplace in a way that is disruptive? Are they using company equipment to do it?"
According to Ronald Jacobs, chair of the political law practice, there are times when employment and campaign-finance laws clash.
"When you have a self storage mom-and-pop store, you think, 'Yeah it's my company, I can do what I want with it," and suddenly they are writing a check on a company account that is a corporate contribution that may be prohibited. Or they are using the company office to host a fundraiser in a way that they are not allowed to, even if they think of it as their own. It is not. It is still a corporation that is subject to restrictions."