Work and Politics
Peter Gillespie of the Chicago office was interviewed for the January 26 Human Resource Executive Online article "Work and Politics." The article examined the case of a woman who claimed that she was denied a law school job because of her political views. The article points out that political leanings are not considered protected free speech in the employment context at private-sector organizations in all but a handful of states. That means that theoretically it is legal to refuse to hire or fire someone whose affiliation may not align with their bosses (so long as the person is not a member of a protected class). However, it is a different story at state-funded public institutions, such as the university in this case. Peter said that firing or refusing to hire someone because of their political viewpoints can be construed as a state's violation of the person's First Amendment rights of political belief and association.