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Yes, It’s Possible To Be An Activist Even If Your Employer Frowns On It, Fast Company, ft. Ellen Storch

Posted Sep 28, 2017

Ellen Storch, partner at Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck on Long Island, was quoted in an article written by Gwen Moran, published in Fast Company, on September 27, 2017.

Even if your boss doesn’t condone political involvement or activism, you can still move the needle on the causes that matter to you.

From marches to fundraising to calling campaigns, many people have felt called get involved in some form of activism this year. But for many people their office policies or career choices may prohibit it. Media companies, government agencies, companies that do business with the government, and others may have policies or rules—written or unwritten—about employees engaging in certain types of activism or political activities. And while they may not be able to fire you for your views, such actions could make your work environment uncomfortable.

DECIDING WHAT TO DO

Of course, being an employee doesn’t rob you of your First Amendment rights, says Ellen Storch, a labor and employment partner at the law firm Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck, LLP. She says that states also have different laws with regard to what employers can require of employees. For example, in New York, where Storch practices, there is a statute that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees for lawful off-duty recreational activities.

“This statute was actually originally created to address the issue of people being able to express themselves politically, and having that not affect their workplace,” she says. So, campaigning on your own time is likely within the law. However, actively participating in violence during a protest march would not be protected.

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