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So you’re a bit political: Should that hurt you at the workplace?

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2021 | Hostile Work Environment

Americans are unquestionably united on some matters and divided on others. Unanimity seems easily clinched regarding some issues and flatly beyond reach on others.

That has always been so, going back to the very dawn of the United States. Divergence of opinion on just about every conceivable subject almost seems inevitable. And, in a perverse way perhaps unique to the U.S., it is typically welcomed.

Candidly, though, things seem just a bit different these days, don’t they? Events that have played out nationally over the past few years reveal a sharp political divide across many dimensions.

That reality buoys some individuals and groups, but deeply distresses others. Some people speak out boldly and without reservation, while others mute their views and cultivate a careful persona.

Whatever the case, though, this much is true: Political preferences and affiliations are personal calls to make, and they need to be safeguarded in a democratic society.

Spotlighting the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978

The CSRA is seminal law that created new protections for American workers employed in the federal sector. Among other things, the statutory legislation created new provisions under Title 5 of the United States Code that enumerate prohibited practices undermining the rights of federal workers in the vast personnel realm.

One barred personnel practice is any harmful action taken against a worker based upon his or her political affiliation.

A dive down into 5 USC Section 2302(b)

The barred-practices language and application in the historical reform legislation is broadly conceived.

First, it targets any federal employee “who has authority to take, direct others to take, recommend or approve any personnel action.”

Secondly, it disallows any consideration of a worker’s political views/affiliation at all in any personnel matter. Moreover, it renders flatly taboo any coercive attempt that seeks an employee’s political service or contribution.

The bottom line: Federal law makes it eminently clear that politics should never surface at all in any personnel decision.

And yet it clearly does, as noted by recurrent news reports and the claims of legions of targeted workers.

Those employees are being harassed and unlawfully retaliated against. They can take action to protect their federal careers by addressing their concerns to proven employment law legal counsel.


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