Can I really get fired for my political views?
Exceptions may vary from State to State. There are also exceptions covered by Federal law that make termination illegal.
There are few exceptions or laws relating to the "at-will" employment rule which provide that you cannot be terminated in connection with your political beliefs or activity in private employment. There are some Federal and States laws or Ordinances of some Cities that provide some political rights but not many.
http://www.workplacefairness.org/retaliation-political-activity - This summary of the issue has some excellent questions and answers about the issue.
With the current state of the Country after the 2016 Presidential Election, the issue of "political beliefs" and employee rights will more than likely become highly analyzed, litigated and changes made in one way or the other.
Other termination laws that may help shed light on the political view question are below.
Some of the reasons a person cannot be terminated or fired, or if they are have recourse include the following. However, all of these may not apply to all States.
- Refusal to perform an illegal act or crime as directed by your Employer is generally protects employees from termination or if terminated it is actionable. However, the opinion of Sabine Pilot v. Hauck requires that your refusal must be the only reason for termination.
- Reporting violations of the law, or so called "Whistle Blowers".
- Military and National Guard activity.
- Filing a Worker's Compensation Claim.
- Collective bargaining agreements, like those made by unions, nearly always require just cause for termination.
- Just cause is also required to terminate a civil service employee.
- You cannot be fired for serving on a jury.
- Employees cannot be terminated for reporting abuse or neglect of nursing home patients.
Also under Federal Law you cannot be terminated or fired discriminatory reasons, on the basis of protected classes such as age, race, gender, nationality, handicap, or religion.
There are also some Federal Public Policy exceptions that are recognized by some States and not by others.
The federal government continues to rely on states to determine exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine, says Charles J. Muhl, a former Department of Labor employee in the Monthly Labor Review. There are three major exceptions broadly accepted across the United States. The public-policy exception, the implied-contract exception and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing exception. Regarding these three exceptions, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Rhode Island do not recognize any of them and only eight states recognize their own versions of all of them. The only law that applies in all states is that an employer cannot compel an employee to commit a crime, nor fire her for refusing to do so.
The three exceptions mentioned in the article above are more fully analyzed in this writing but is was written in 2000 and laws change across the States. However, it is a good starting point to learn the law. http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2001/01/art1full.pdf We do not find a reference to political views as being protected or not in this article.
Other Sources for Information: