Can my private-sector employer legally prohibit me from making a political campaign contribution without their permission?

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Can my private-sector employer legally prohibit me from making a political campaign contribution without their permission?

My wife recently received an official memo from her employer regarding the company’s policy regarding political campaign contributions, as follows: “All Personnel, With the US presidential campaign season in full swing, we remind you of your obligations under the XXXXXX company policy, summarizedbelow relating to political giving to US elected officials by all firm personnel and any member of their household. All contemplated political donations by you or your family members must be pre-cleared. The policy does not permit donations to any candidate for state or local office; etc…”

Asked on May 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a private sector employer may do this; the First Amendment guaranty of free speech (which underpins the right to campaign contributions) applies against government action, not to private employers. Your employer may set terms and conditions for work, which terms and conditions infringe or limit your right to do non-work activities; the employer can say that if you want to work here and us to pay you, you have to abide by our rules.


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