Can I Be Fired for Participating in a Political Protest in Florida?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on October 6, 2017

 Can I Be Fired for Participating in a Political Protest in Florida? After several websites and blogs began doxxing the participants of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, news outlets reported on several of the men losing their jobs when employers found out. Sure, one was fired from his job at a hot dog restaurant, but whether you’re marching as a white supremacist or in the Women’s March, does your employer have a right to fire you for your political involvement?

The answer is complicated. But first, let’s get a common misconception out of the way: a firing for political involvement does not in anyway violate the First Amendment. Your employer, if it’s not the government, is a private company with it’s own code of conduct that you promised to abide by when you were hired.

Second, if the state you live in is an at-will employment state, then your company can fire you for any reason or no reason at all, so you’ll never know if your company was opposed to your political stance or not unless they specifically tell you that it’s the reason for your termination. Several states and localities do provide protections for workers who engage in political activities, but in Florida, that’s limited to the right to vote. Employers are not allowed to fire or threaten to fire employees on the basis of how they vote.

Third, if you break laws in the course of protesting, such as trespassing, vandalism, assault, or other laws, then your employer may not even need to deal with the protest issue itself. You may have violated other terms of conduct outlined in the company policy.

Fourth, in the past, for outside observers to connect you with your employer, you had to be literally wearing a company logo. Today, it’s as easy as a Google search in many cases. You may need to take a second look at company policies to determine if your online presence serves as a enough of a link to your employer to count as representation.

Call Miami Employment Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Employment Law and Civil Litigation cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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