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Employment Law Issues on Election Day

With Election Day only hours away, I thought it would be a
good time to share some posts on employment law issues that may arise
tomorrow. Most issues tend to focus on employees taking leave from work, but there are also some issues
regarding workplace disagreements and other election-related issues. I hope
everyone is able to vote tomorrow without waiting in line for too long.

LawTribune provides an interesting look at some issues
facing employers during this especially contentious election season
. Most
importantly, the post notes that employers have to be careful not to create an
“implication of discrimination” through statements made by managers and
supervisors who think they are simply discussing politics. Companies also have
to be careful with endorsements that run the risk of looking like telling
employees how to vote. The best strategy is for businesses to have clear
policies in place about what types of discussions are acceptable in the
workplace. The post also looks into protected union-related conduct and
workplace dress code issues.

The Connecticut Employment Law Blog analyzes state-specific
election-related issues, and while the post is germane to Connecticut, the
issues can be extrapolated to wider national concerns
. One of the major issues
is whether providing time off for voting is required. The Project Vote Smart
website gives a state-by-state breakdown
of applicable election laws. Another
issue, as described above, is the concern that employers avoid the appearance
of telling employees how to vote in company-sponsored endorsements.

The Richmond Region Small Business Solution Center has a
great post that looks at some Virginia-specific issues
. Virginia doesn’t have
any law mandating employees get a certain amount of time off of work to vote,
and there is no requirement employers pay employees for time spent voting.  The only people who are allowed to take off
from work are election officers appointed by the state. The post suggests that
employers send an email to employees encouraging them to vote and reminding
them that the employer expects employees will vote either before or after work,
or during lunch hours. An employee who may have difficulty voting is advised to
talk with his or her employer ahead of time to set up an alternate time arrangement.

Finally, The Word of Employment Law blog gives a
great overview of voting laws in all 50 states
. For instance, in Maryland,
employees are allowed two hours paid-time off to vote if polls won’t be open
for at least two consecutive hours outside their scheduled workday.

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