Can Political Affiliation Have a Negative Impact in the Workplace?

Although having different political opinions has always been welcomed in the United States, recent events that have gained national attention reveal a distinct political divide among Americans. While some people express themselves and voice their opinions, others may be more reserved and do not readily disclose their political beliefs.

No matter the case, political affiliations and preferences are within our civil rights and must be protected, especially in the workplace. When it comes to federal employees, the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 promotes overall fairness in federal personnel actions.

According to 5 USC § 2302(b), “any employee who has authority to take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall not, with respect to such authority” do the following in regard to political beliefs:

  • Discriminate for or against any federal worker or applicant from employment based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, or political affiliation.
  • Seek or recognize employment recommendations based on factors other than work performance, job qualifications, and personal character traits.
  • Coerce the political activity of any individual or take action against any employee or applicant in retaliation for refusing to engage in such political activity.

In general, federal law prevents personnel decisions from being influenced by political opinions. However, discrimination for political affiliation does not cover political correctness or “office politics.” Instead, the term means discriminating against someone because of his/her affiliation with any partisan political party or candidate.

Yet, there have been cases where federal employees are targeted because of their political beliefs. Fortunately, they can take action to protect their careers and livelihood by seeking the legal representation of an experienced federal employment lawyer.

If you are federal employee who has been discriminated or retaliated against based on your political affiliation, contact our federal employment law attorneys at Pines Federal today at (888) 898-9902. Our legal team has more than 50 years of combined legal experience!