Employers Are Allowed to Hire and Fire (Discriminate) on the Basis of Political Affiliation

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Business & Corporate Law Attorney

With the controversy around the recent elections now over, there have been some reports of companies telling their employees that if they voted for President-elect Trump, they should be looking for a new job.  There has also been a report of a company who provides an Internet domain for websites telling prospective customers that if they support Trump, he no longer wishes to do business with them. Outrageous!!! So the question has been posed as to whether companies can discriminate on the basis of political affiliation. It appears in New Jersey they can.

Federal laws protect discrimination against people based on national origin, gender, age, and disability.  New Jersey’s law protects against a whole host of other factors, including nationality, ancestry, familial status, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, affectional or sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.

But New Jersey’s expansive law against discrimination DOES NOT MENTION discrimination on the basis of political affiliation, and the courts in New Jersey have stated that there is no basis in the law that prevents discrimination because of political affiliation.  State law does prevent employers from forcing their employees to attend an employer-sponsored meeting or to participate in any communications that enunciate “the employer’s opinion about religious or political matters” under N.J.S.A. §34:19-10.  But firing or demoting an employee based on political affiliation is not recognized as a basis of unlawful employment discrimination under federal or state law. So much for freedom of speech.

To discuss your NJ Business & Corporate Law matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.

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