- A Texas lawmaker is proposing a bill to prevent employers from firing workers for expressing their political views while off the job, reports WFAA. Rep. James White, a Republican state legislator, told WFAA that he sees the bill as an extension of religious and racial protection.
- White said the idea for the bill came after meeting employers who said they felt pressured to fire workers for their political views. The bill would protect all workers, but also journalists, many of whom were fired for posting their political views on social media and other public forums.
- The bill will now go through a legislative hearing.
Employers in the private sector shouldn’t expect workers to abandon their political views or refrain from expressing them publicly outside the workplace, but employees can also step over the line in many cases.
While political views aren’t protected by law, White sees his proposal offering the same kind of protection afforded religion, race, gender, ethnicity and disability under the Title VII under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The courts may not agree, however.
Employers shouldn’t have concerns about workers expressing political views unless they’re hateful or deeply inapprorpiate views. In that case, employers need to consider whether the speech creates, or has the potential to create, a hostile work environment, whereby disciplining or terminating the employee might be necessary.