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By Louise Herman

Whether you like it or not, politics influence nearly every aspect of our lives in big and small ways. As such, engaging in political activism is something important to many in the United States. You may wonder whether or not you’re entitled to time off of work to pursue these activities. It’s essential to understand your rights as an employee, including if your employer is obligated to allow you time off to vote and whether or not an employer can fire you based on your political affiliation. Keep reading to learn more about these issues and discover how a Providence County, Rhode Island employment lawyer can assist you.

What Constitutes Political Activism?

In the United States, political activism can refer to a number of activities. These include lobbying, campaigning, and voting. This is done as a means to create awareness about issues and generate interest and knowledge about specific candidates and reforms.

Does an Employer Have to Give Me Time Off for Political Activism?

The most common form of political activism many will engage in is voting. While some states may mandate time to vote, it’s necessary to understand that depending on your state, your employer is under no obligation to provide time off.

In Rhode Island, there are no laws by which an employer is required to give workers time off to vote in elections. However, if a company wishes to give employees time off to vote, they may do so at their own discretion.

It’s important to understand that this applies to other forms of activism as well. In Rhode Island, your employer is under no legal obligation to allow you to take time off of work to lobby or campaign for an upcoming election, legislature vote, or any other related event.

What Should I Do if My Employer Discriminates Against Me Due to My Beliefs?

Similarly, it’s critical to understand that your employer cannot fire you due to your affiliation with a particular political party. For example, if your employer knows your political affiliation and uses that as a reason to fire or demote you for your beliefs, so long as they do not directly go against company policy, this would constitute wrongful termination or retaliation.

However, if you break company policy, such as serving as a full-time Board of Education member while also working full-time with your company, and your employer fires you as a result, you would likely not be able to prove that this is retaliation. Generally, this is because it violates company policy because of the time-commitment issues rather than your political affiliation.

Finally, you’ll want to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At the Herman Law Group, we understand that politics are important to you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you with any issues you may have.

About the Author
At Herman Law Group, our focus is on safeguarding the rights and careers of employees and businesses alike. With over 35 years of successful legal practice, Louise A. Herman brings an invaluable dual perspective from representing both employees and employers. This unique insight allows us to effectively achieve successful outcomes for our clients in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and nationwide.