Summary of State Laws Protecting Political Dissidents against Discrimination

If you are a political dissident and have experienced employment-based adverse treatment (including threats) because of your beliefs, the Free Expression Foundation may be able to provide you with important legal information to help you fight back.

One source of your legal rights may be your employment contract, if you have one. This includes collective bargaining employment contracts such as those negotiated by unions. Because union members frequently engage in political activity, union contracts commonly contain express prohibitions against political discrimination.

If you do not have an employment contract, you are almost certainly an “at-will” employee. The general legal rule is that an employer may fire an at-will employee for any reason or no reason at all, unless the employee falls into a protected class such as those based on race or gender, and persons holding dissident political views are not a protected class.

There are, however, 18 state or local laws (according to FEF’s latest research) that, to a greater or lesser extent, provide potential redress for an employer’s adverse action against an at-will employee based on the employee’s political beliefs or activities. It bears emphasis that these laws differ greatly from each other. Some have been around for many years; some are quite new. Some are broad in scope and expressly protect the employee’s First Amendment rights; others are drawn narrowly, and arguably apply only to specific contexts relating to specific events, such as elections. Some provide only for criminal penalties; some also provide a civil cause of action for damages. Some have been interpreted by their state courts many times; some have never been interpreted.

California [CAL. LAB. CODE §§ 1101 and 1102]

Colorado [COLO. REV. STAT. ANN. § 24-34-402.5]

Connecticut [CONN. GEN. STAT. § 31-51q]

District of Columbia [D.C. CODE § 2-1402.01] and [DC Guide}

Louisiana [LA. REV. STAT. ANN. §§ 23:961 and 23:962]

Minnesota [MINN. STAT. ANN. § 10A.36]

Missouri [MO. ANN. STAT. § 115.637(6) and § 130.028]

Montana [MONT. CODE ANN. § 39-2-904 and MONT. CONST. art. 2, § 4]

Nebraska [NEB. REV. STAT. ANN. § 32-1537]

Nevada [NEV. REV. STAT. ANN. § 613.040]

North Dakota [N.D. CENT. CODE ANN. § 14-02.4-03]

New Mexico [N.M. STAT. ANN. § 1-20-13 and § 3-8-78(A)]

New York [N.Y. LAB. LAW § 201-d]

South Carolina [S.C. CODE ANN. § 16-17-560]

Utah [UTAH CODE ANN. § 34A-5-112]

Washington [Seattle only; SEATTLE, WASH. MUN. CODE. § 14.04.040]

West Virginia [W. VA. CODE ANN. § 3-8-11(b) and § 3-9-15]

Wisconsin [Madison only; MADISON, WIS. MUN. CODE § 39.03]

If you have been the victim of adverse treatment by your employer based on your political beliefs or activities, FEF will try to help to the degree it is able. The help FEF can offer will depend on the particular facts of your case, the jurisdiction whose laws apply, and the resources FEF has available. At a minimum, however, FEF will consult with you for free, a consultation that may include speaking with an attorney acting on FEF’s behalf.


If you found this information useful, please consider making a small tax-deductible donation to the FEF by clicking here. Every dollar counts in our fight to keep Free Expression free.


*** IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER***

Information herein and throughout this website is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice directed towards individuals, groups, or organizations.

FEF does maintain relationships with lawyers, law firms, and other experts throughout the United States and can help direct people towards such resources and, to an extent, serve in an advisory capacity. But the FEF is not, in any way, a law firm or legal partnership.

The FEF recommends that legal advice should always be obtained by a qualified attorney licensed to practice law in the relevant jurisdiction.

8 replies
  1. Tom
    Tom says:

    The thing that kills me about protected group “civil rights” legislation is that it discriminates against other societal groups not listed in the legislation. So basically such legislation hypocritically leaves vulnerable the majority members of society; which could have been an intent of the “civil rights” legislation in the first place. Quite Orwellian too in that it allows for some animals having greater rights than others, as in “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. How this comports with the 14th Amendment is beyond me. Additionally, the legislation forces employers to act as government proxies in the latter’s attempts to right the supposed “wrongs” of free civil society. In opposing the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Goldwater was perfectly correct when he stated that extremism in the defense of liberty was no vice. Government incursions against property rights, beyond life and liberty, that were begun during the New Deal brought us to the tyranny we now face.

    Reply
  2. Tim Folke
    Tim Folke says:

    Glen Allen is an extremely intelligent lawyer who was (to my understanding) instrumental in founding the FEF.

    He was (as I was) attacked by the $PLC and like me, he survived. He is a good, wholesome family man and deserves our total support.

    Any donation is helpful. Sorry, Brothers and Sisters, but until the spawn of Satan is gone, we need to help each other financially.

    Reply
    • Bobjeanjesus
      Bobjeanjesus says:

      SPLC runs a great magazine…I find it highly entertaining 🙂 of course…any given ” hate group” is like ..one dude with a computer in his basement. The turtle island article was good and they also print halariously factual articles on why people hate the government. 🙂 I don’t know if it’s comedy or what. They probably secretly support us…they keep showing the location of every racist in America…a how to guide to the federal reserve… Holocaust denial…I mean . Wow 🙂 no Nazi group could hope to provide so much ammo as the SPLC does in their magazine to donors

      Reply

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