Not only do Trump supporters who participated in the riot at the U.S. Capitol face criminal charges, but they have also been fired from their jobs after being identified online or from news coverage. Many of them may be wondering if their termination was lawful.
Although federal law has few limits on a private employer’s right to fire employees over political speech, state and local jurisdictions may protect employees from lawful and off-duty political activities. For example, California’s employment laws offer protection for individuals from being fired for political affiliations or expressing their viewpoints on social media.
However, a private or public employee can always be terminated for violating the law. Whether a person is charged with federal crimes or caught on video illegally trespassing into the Capitol without being arrested, committing a crime is a ground for dismissal.
Furthermore, if a person called in sick on January 6, 2020, and then was seen in Washington D.C., even if the individual did not participate in the riot or simply protested outside the Capitol, lying is often a fireable offense. If an employee hasn’t been performing well on the job and is recognized for participating in the Capitol riot, the employer may fire the employee simply based on “performance.”
Lastly, if an employee was caught wearing company-branded attire or even a company-related identification badge, they may be fired because their actions may appear to represent the employer. Once an employer is placed in this awkward position, the most likely response is termination.
For more information about California employment laws, contact Marder Employment Law today at (888) 796-4010 to discuss your case. Serving clients throughout California.