You Can Require Your Employees to Attend a Political Rally. But You Shouldn’t

You Can Require Your Employees to Attend a Political Rally. But You Shouldn’t

Last week, a company in Pennsylvania made headlines when they told employees to either attend a Trump rally, take a vacation day, or take a day off.

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Last week, a company in Pennsylvania made headlines when they told employees to either attend a Trump rally, take a vacation day, or take a day off. It seems like an abuse of power for a company to demand attendance at a political rally. (Although technically, it was an “official event” and not a campaign one, that is just semantics. Trump’s opponents are campaigning heavily, and Trump urged attendees to vote for him.)

Lots of people were upset, but this falls into one of those categories of things you can do, but you should not do. As employment attorney Jon Hyman says, it’s a terrible idea, but  in all likelihood, there is nothing illegal about this practice.”

Companies Support Presidential Candidates

It’s a bipartisan issue.

Why Is This Legal?

Why This Is a Bad Idea

Companies can donate to political candidates. CEOs can give to political candidates. Anybody can donate. Anybody can attend a rally. I’m certainly in favor of companies allowing people to use their vacation days to participate in such events.

But, making it a paid, company endorsed activity crosses the line–whether it be a Trump rally in PA or an Immigration protest in California. Politics doesn’t need to invade every aspect of our lives. We shouldn’t have to worry about having the “wrong” political view at work. We shouldn’t have to fear that our boss thinks less of us because we support a different candidate than he or she does.

We should be kind to each other. We should follow all laws prohibiting discrimination. But, we should be able to say, “I don’t like this candidate” or “I like this policy” without fear of retribution. At work, we should be judged on our ability to do our jobs and follow the law, and nothing else.

I don’t know what the leadership of this PA company thought people would think. Perhaps because the county was a Trump stronghold, they thought everyone would cheer the idea. But, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any company of any reasonable size that has 100 percent agreement on a particular political candidate. And you don’t want your disagreeing candidates (on either side of the aisle) to feel pressure to follow your political beliefs.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

This article is from Inc.com

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