So, I read this very disturbing article today. At least, bothersome to me. It was from the website REASON. The headline was this, “Is Giving to Biden or Trump Grounds for Getting Fired? New Poll Finds a Disturbing Number of People Who Think It Should Be.”
Poll finds self-censorship on the rise across political groups. A disturbingly high percentage of people polled earlier this month think private political donations should be grounds for getting fired. The number was especially high among respondents under age 30, with 44 percent of the youngest group saying business leaders who donate to Donald Trump should be fired…
The article goes on to discuss how this train of thought extends to Democratic supporters (22%) of Joe Biden as well. Further on in the article, which was discussing survey data from the CATO Institute, went on to say this.
Examining all Americans under 65, 37% of those under 30 are worried their political opinions could harm their career trajectories, compared to 30% of 30–54 year-olds and 24% of 55–64 year-olds. But the age gap is more striking taking into account political views.
A slim majority (51%) of Republicans under 30 fear their views could harm their career prospects compared to 39% of 30–44 year-olds, 34% of 45–54 year-olds, and 28% of 55–64 year-old Republicans.
Democrats reflect a similar but less pronounced pattern. A third (33%) of Democrats under 30 worry they have views that could harm their current and future jobs, compared to 27% of 30–54 year-olds, and 19% of 55–64 year-old Democrats.
These survey findings intrigued me and sparked my curiosity. If I spent a couple of hours researching the matter, how many people could I find who were fired for supporting the President verses those who were fired for disavowing him? Overall, I found a LOT of backlash against Trump supporters and only a few examples of people terminated for not supporting him. This seems to be in line with the survey results cited above.
These findings are not exhaustive as I spent a limited time (2 hours) searching this out. Still, I think the comparison speaks for itself. It was very challenging to find examples of people being fired for supporting Joe Biden unless they worked in the political arena. As such, asking is it okay to fire Trump supporters is more relevant than asking if Biden supporters should be fired. But, I digress, here is a list of what I found.
PEOPLE WHO WERE FIRED FOR SUPPORTING PRESIDENT TRUMP
04.09.16 – Ephrata Man Fired For Supporting Donald Trump – Eddie Slayton, an Ephrata resident and former employee of MiniTech Enterprises explained to us what happened. “I went to work like I always do and they told me I had to go see the boss of MiniTech, Tariq Akbari. He told me I was fired for supporting Donald Trump. I like Trump because he tells it like it is.” We spoke to MiniTech CEO Tariq Akbari about Slayton’s termination and he told us, “I am a Muslim and Islam is a religion of peace. We want MiniTech employees to work in a peaceful and non-threatening environment. Mr. Slayton’s support for Donald Trump created an air of hostility.”
11.18.16 – Reporter Fired After Expressing Support for Donald Trump on Facebook – A Houston Fox affiliate reporter has been fired after expressing her support for Donald Trump and saying America is “violent and racist under the Obama administration” on Facebook. Now-former KRIV reporter Scarlett Fakhar wrote on her professional Facebook page that, “Fox 26 Houston fired me today for expressing my conservative views on my private Facebook page. That is all I will say for now.”
12.12.16 – ‘Million Dollar Extreme’ creators say Adult Swim canceled their show for supporting Donald Trump – The controversial comedy led to comedian Brett Gelman to sever ties with the network. According to a Buzzfeed report, a number of Adult Swim actors, executives and directors were pressuring network exec Mike Lazzo to cancel the show. However, one of the show’s writers wrote in the Daily Caller that it was ultimately their support of Trump that ultimately led to their cancellation. “The guys in [‘Million Dollar Extreme’] voted for Trump. We’re not allowed to be stupid, just ‘uneducated,'” Hyde and fellow comedian Don Jolly wrote.
03.15.17 – University disputes employee was fired for supporting Trump – A University of Wisconsin-La Crosse police dispatcher says she was fired for supporting President Donald Trump’s travel ban. University human resources director Madeline Holzem sent a letter sent to Kimberly Dearman on Monday asking her to resign or be terminated, the La Crosse Tribune reported. The letter says Dearman was investigated after a complaint from a colleague and was found to have violated university employee policies against unbecoming conduct and abusive or threatening language.
01.20.18 – Nurse claims she was fired for supporting Trump – The lawsuit demands that Mathews be rehired and receive back pay and punitive damages for emotional trauma after being fired over a political conversation with a patient, according to Fox News. Mathews, 65, was attending to the patient on Sept. 10, 2016, shortly before the general election, when the patient asked her who she thought would win. The nurse said she was hoping for Trump to win and that she was “praying for him.” Mathews claims she received a call from the nursing manager three days after the conversation saying the patient, who was previously a high-ranking hospital employee, had complained. She was informed she was fired and ineligible for rehire at the hospital, according to the lawsuit.
10.26.18 – Trump Supporter Says He Was Fired After Wearing MAGA Hat, Files Discrimination Lawsuit –
Dale started at the Department of Public Works in 1979 and worked his way up to become the superintendent of Public Works for District 2 in 2014. The lawsuit claimed that he “met or exceeded” all legitimate employment expectations and consistently performed above expectations, save one written warning in 2016. In 2016, Dale wore Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hat to work as a symbol of his support for the then-presidential candidate. He also talked about his support for the future president during conversations with his co-workers. The lawsuit claimed that after Dale wore the hat, AFSCME Local 725 President Steven Quick pointed out that Dale was a Trump supporter during a meeting with Public Works employees. Quick also allegedly passed around a photo of Trump with a person he told meeting attendees was Dale.
11.10.18 – Black model dubbed as racist then fired by agency for supporting President Trump – On October 26, Zoe Sozo Bethel joined a large group of young black women for the Young Black Leadership Summit. The event spanned the weekend and was held at the White House. She posted a few images from the event. One of them showed her standing with a group of people wearing hats with the words “Make America Great Again” written across the cap. Little did she know her employer would not take kindly to the pics. On her return home, she was sent a strongly worded email that released her from her contract.
11.12.18 – Facebook fired top exec Palmer Luckey for supporting Donald Trump for President – “Mr. Luckey, it turns out, was put on leave, then fired, according to people familiar with the matter. More recently, he has told people the reason was his support for Donald Trump and the furor that his political beliefs sparked within Facebook and Silicon Valley, some of those people say,” Grind and Hagey report. “Internal Facebook emails suggest the matter was discussed at the highest levels of the company. In the fall of 2016, as unhappiness over the donation simmered, Facebook executives including Mr. Zuckerberg pressured Mr. Luckey to publicly voice support for libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, despite Mr. Luckey’s yearslong support of Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the conversations and internal emails viewed by The Wall Street Journal.”
06.19.19 – Trump-Supporting Teacher Fired After Posing Semi-Nude: Lawsuit – Chelsy Zelasko is a registered Democrat, but in 2016 she became a vocal supporter of then-candidate Donald Trump. She posed semi-nude with her private areas covered by American flags or guns and was interviewed by betterthantheweekend.com weeks before the election. It was posted under the title “Female Trump Supporter Gets Naked to Make America Great Again.” Zelasko is suing the school in state Superior Court. The lawsuit was filed Monday.
09.17.19 – Roseanne Barr Reemerges To Claim She Was Fired For Supporting Trump – One year after being fired by ABC, Roseanne Barr has reemerged in a new interview to claim that it was her outspoken support of President Donald Trump that did her in at the network. “When it happened it was like I thought I was gonna lose my life. It was devastating and horrible and is unprecedented too that they would do that to me,” Barr said of the cancellation of her eponymous sitcom in 2018. “It was a perfect storm. That’s what I think, just the perfect storm at the perfect time. Kind of a little bit too perfect. Sometimes I think, ‘Was this orchestrated? The whole thing?’”
12.13.19 – Ho, Ho…Whoa! Mall Santa FIRED for Supporting President Trump – A Georgia man who has played a mall Santa Claus for the last 50 years was fired earlier this week for posting a photograph in a Trump hat on his personal Facebook account. Frank Skinner’s decades long career playing Father Christmas includes 14 years at the Mall of Waycross, the mall that just fired him after receiving a complaint about his post. The photo in question was taken as the mall was closing, when no children were around, and just meant for his friends and family.
01.16.20 – Wisconsin woman claims she was fired for supporting President Trump on social media – A Wisconsin woman says she was fired this week over a post she made on social media issuing support for President Trump. According to WISN, Robyn Polak posted to social media on Monday night, the day before the president held a rally in Milwaukee, which she says she attended. “I said a few times, ‘Make America great again,’ and then I said, ‘MAGA 2020,’” Polak told the news outlet. Polak says she believes she was fired from her job as a dental assistant because of these comments. She claims another social media user wrote a negative review for the office alleging that their employees were racists.
07.19.20 – Jeremy Roenick Sues NBC Sports, Claims He Was Fired For Being Straight, Supporting Donald Trump – In a lawsuit, filed against NBC last week, however, Roenick alleges that his comments were used as cover and that NBC News really fired him for being a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, according to Fox News. The lawsuit suggests that other NBC commentators have made similar, lewd jokes about coworkers and received a pass from network management.
07.22.20 – Michigan teacher says he was fired after tweeting in support of Trump – A Michigan high school teacher says he was fired this month after tweeting in support of President Trump, though the school district denies the allegations.
09.02.20 – Man fired for refusing to remove ‘Trump 2020’ hat at Newport News Shipbuilding – Dave Sunderland said he had been wearing Donald Trump hats to work at Newport News Shipbuilding every day for nearly four years. He wore the caps — most recently one that said “Trump 2020″ — as he walked from his car to his work site inside the gates, and sometimes for a short safety meeting at the start of his shift. Sunderland, 55, of York County, was fired last week after refusing to remove his hat before the safety meeting. He said the human resources department told him he violated a company policy barring yard workers from “campaigning” while on the job. “I wasn’t campaigning,” Sunderland said. “I wore a ball cap. I wasn’t passing out bumper stickers. I wasn’t asking people to vote. I wasn’t doing anything, except for wearing a ball cap going to work.”
09.15.20 – NFL Team’s Spanish-Language Broadcaster Loses Job for Supporting Trump – Moreno tweeted a post in support of Trump from his private Twitter page in April. This prompted Eric Fiddleman, who manages radio and television for the Panthers, to contact him and request that he remove references to the Panthers from his account. At this time, Moreno was not under contract with the Panthers. As an independent contractor, he is not employed during part of the off-season. But he complied, scrubbed his Twitter bio of Panthers content, and updated it to reflect his support of Trump. “Listen … I’m not even under contract right now. I am not willing to participate in this project anymore if I’m going to be censored,” Moreno said, recounting the conversation with Fiddleman. “Because I am not OK with them censoring my freedom of speech in support of the president.”
10.12.20 – Police Chief Reportedly Fired By Democrat Mayor Over Wife’s Support Of Donald Trump In Facebook Post – A Pennsylvania police chief reportedly recently found himself in a position where he was “forced” to retire by the town’s Democrat mayor after his wife apparently posted a controversial, pro-Trump Facebook post that the mayor believed was inappropriate enough to strip a career law enforcement officer of his job.
06.20.20 – Joe Nocera: Ronald Lauder shouldn’t be fired for backing Trump – And one other thing: Mr. Lauder is a Republican. More than that, he’s a Donald Trump Republican, having poured $1.6 million into “pro-Trump organizations” since 2016, according to Bloomberg News. Last week, something took place at Estee Lauder Cos. that was both astonishing and troubling: About 100 employees sent a letter to the chairman, William Lauder, who is also Ronald Lauder’s nephew. They demanded that his uncle be removed from the board.
PEOPLE WHO WERE FIRED FOR CRITICISIZING PRESIDENT TRUMP
06.12.2020 – Facebook fires employee who protested inaction on Trump posts – Facebook Inc fired an employee who had criticized Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to take action against inflammatory posts by U.S. President Donald Trump this month, citing his tweet challenging a colleague’s silence on the issue.
06.12.20 – St. Mary’s Tourism Director Allegedly Fired For Not Supporting Donald Trump – On June 10, the Visit St. Mary’s MD (VSMMD) board of directors put out a press release stating that they would part ways with their executive director, Jason Aul. However, Aul later put out his own release, alleging that the board terminated him based on his “personal political opinion,” specifically as it related to his disapproval of President Donald Trump and his supporters.
07.18.20 – Report: Trump-Supporting “Red Bull” CEO Just Fired Two of His “Social Justice Warrior” Top Executives – While Red Bull employees in the US have been pressing for the company to be more vocal about racism, Red Bull’s billionaire CEO Dietrich Mateschitz is a Donald Trump admirer who has spoken out against ‘political correctness’. The 76-year-old tycoon also owns a media firm which has been criticized for giving a platform to far-right activists in his native Austria. Sources told Business Insider that Red Bull’s top executives in Austria are thought to have fired Kozak and Taylor in ‘retaliation’ for the leak, although no official reason was given for their departure.
11.19.20 – Radio host says he was fired on-air after criticizing Trump. The station tells a different story. – A conservative radio station in Colorado is disputing claims by one of its hosts that the station fired him mid-show last weekend just as he was airing disapproval of President Trump. As host Craig Silverman and executives with the Denver-based 710 KNUS shared their view of events, the incident underscored the growing isolation of conservatives whose viewpoints reflect anything but unwavering support of Trump.
CAN COMPANIES FIRE YOU OVER YOUR POLITICAL OPINIONS?
In America, we have free speech (allegedly) and being fired for your political affiliation seems illegal to me. I am NOT a legal expert so I cannot say what is legal and what is not. Regardless of what has been said, I recommend meeting with a lawyer before pursuing any legal action. That being said, below are a a few quotes I found online.
In California, the answer is clear — the law expressly prohibits employers from forbidding an employee from participating in politics, or controlling or directing an employee’s political activities or affiliations. Employers are also barred from firing or threatening to fire an employee in order to coerce him or her into any particular course of political activity. (California Labor Code Sections 1101 & 1102.)
These provisions encompass and protect more than simply supporting a particular candidate or party. The California Supreme Court has decided the term “political activities” includes all activities that may indicate support for a particular candidate or a political cause. This broad definition of “political activities” protects California employees from discrimination based not only on which candidate the employee supports, but also on support for or involvement in the many social and political movements of today’s political landscape.
Employees may not be fired or otherwise disciplined for participating in a climate march or attending an Ann Coulter speech; nor for going to a “Black Lives Matter” protest or supporting a border wall between the United States and Mexico; nor for countless opinions and activities in between.
All but 1 state in the US are At Will states. That means that absent a written employment contract to the contrary, the employment contract can be broken at any time, by either party, for any reason, including no reason at all. Unless you are a member of a protected class and can prove that your dismissal was illegal under anti-discrimination laws, you have no recourse. Political affiliation is not a protected class. That said, your employer has no way of knowing who you voted for unless you are stupid enough to reveal it. Many employers prohibit political activism on company property or on company time. I’ve seen people of all political persuasions terminated for violating that rule, especially when it creates a contentious work environment.
No because you will not be able to prove that that is why they fired you. This is why your political affiliations and who you vote for should NEVER be discussed with anyone or POSTED on any social media.
I’m curious. Do you personally discuss politics at work or post about it on social media? And if so, have you ever had a concern that doing so would affect your career? Let me know in the comments below. Please and thank you.