General Question

flo's avatar

Can employers fire people because of how they voted?

Asked by flo (10349points) November 10th, 2012

Can an employer announce/warn the employees “If you vote for Obama, you will lose your job” kind of thing? I think there is a case in the news.

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50 Answers

JenniferP's avatar

How would they know how you voted? You do it in private. I know that in many states they can fire you for basically anything unless it is something like racial, religious, etc. But that I don’t know of. But let’s face it, they can fire you for anything and just come up with an excuse. Then they can say bad things about you and prevent you from getting another job.

plethora's avatar

The only job in which one cannot be fired for any reason whatsoever is that of a federal employee. Every other employer, thank God, can fire you for any reason at all as long as it is not prohibited by law. Firing you for your voting choice is prohibited by law.

ETpro's avatar

@plethora Any employer with a grain of sense will find a “legal” reason and give that as the motive for firing someone they in fact are firing for an illegal reason. @JenniferP is right. Who you vote for is your own business. Don’t tell a right-wing authoritarian boss you voted against his/her wishes. Keep your own council and your job.

wundayatta's avatar

Most jobs are “employment at will.” That means your employer can fire you for any reason at all, except for protected reasons—like for race or sex and the other protected classes.

The other thing that protects you from being fired for any reason at all is a union.

Other than that, you can be fired for any ridiculous reason or for no reason at all. If your employer doesn’t like your politics, he can can your ass.

VS's avatar

No one should ever know of how you cast your vote unless you tell them. If they ask, you can always give the old standard “I don’t discuss religion or politics or my sexual activity with anyone except my therapist.”

Paradox25's avatar

Legally, no. However, if an employer decides to fire you they can make up any reason to justify this so it’s a “heads I win tails you lose” scenerio. I’m pretty open about how I vote, and I tend to vote for more liberal candidates in a heavily Republican workplace.

mangeons's avatar

I agree with @VS. No one can know who you voted for unless you tell them. Just say that you prefer not to talking about religion/politics/etc. in the workplace.

_Whitetigress's avatar

@flo Link to the news?

jerv's avatar

@_Whitetigress There are more than a few such stories going around, so I do not know which the OP is referring to. If you didn’t know that already, you must have been not paying attention the last couple of months; there have been that many.

downtide's avatar

If you live in a “Right to Work” state (which is a ridiculous name for the policy) then yes, your employer can fire you for any reason. They could fire you for refusing to say who you voted for too, or they could fire you for no reason at all.

bkcunningham's avatar

@downtide, a Right to Work state means that people aren’t forced to join a union and/or support a union by paying union dues, unless you work for the railroad or the airline industry.

Of course you can’t be fired for how you voted. If an employer attempts to use these tactics, they will be investigated and if there is enough evidence, they will be prosecuted.

Blackberry's avatar

Lol…..There should be a counter labeled “time since republican/conservative said something stupid”.

Let’s see how many days we can get before something else happens.

snowberry's avatar

They can’t fire them for how they voted, but I have known people who were forced to put campaign signs promoting candidates they did not support on their lawns.

The guy worked for the municipal electric company in a small rural town. The implication was clear: Do this or lose your job.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Employers are not required to give a reason.

Though I would quickly terminate @Blackberry for such an unprofessional suggestion.

Nullo's avatar

@Blackberry Have you considered that the Republican/conservative flubs simply get more exposure?

Fly's avatar

@_Whitetigress Here is just one recent example of this.

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham I wish I were as naive as your post above makes you sound. I would be much less high-strung if I was that blissfully ignorant of reality.

@Nullo True, there is that possibility, but the flubs from the other side of the aisle tend to be less egregious. There is a huge difference between Clinton’s “definition of ‘is’” dance than “rape victims cannot get pregnant; the body has ways to shut down”.
Show us a list of flubs of that magnitude made by Dems/Libs. And I’m not talking the fringe people like Vermin Supreme, I am talking about those who actually hold office, or are serious enough contenders to actually get elected to do so. I’ve been looking, and I haven’t found many yet. Kerry’s “I voted for it before I voted against it”, is about the worst.
I love heaping derision on idiots and hypocrites, and I would welcome more deserving targets, so I am waiting for you to offer proof. While I doubt you will find much, I do have to commend you for at least trying to keep things fair and balanced. Just remember that not all who oppose Republicans/Conservatives are actually Dems/Libs; some of us are merely anti-idiot.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

The American people need to understand that there are costs associated with Liberal policy.

You wanted him back in office so bad?

Live with the consequences.

flo's avatar

I haven’t read all the answers yet. The story could be this one.

Blackberry's avatar

@Nullo I agree, but the flubs do seem to be more egregious as jerv stated.

bkcunningham's avatar

Oh, Great and All Knowing @jerv, please, direct me in the path to correct my ignorance. What part of what I posted do you think isn’t true?

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham The actual truth behind “work at will” states. The only practical difference between those states that are “work at will” and those that are not is whether they bother to make up a reason to terminate you; if they want you gone, you’re gone. To think otherwise it to ignore the difference between theory and fact.

flo's avatar

Employers shouldn’t even ask who an employee voted for.
And at least they shouldn’t influence the vote by using threats ahead of the date of the election.

emilianate's avatar

An employee can be fired for any reason, or no reason at all. It only becomes problematic when an employee is fired for an illegal reason, like firing someone for their race, gender, religion, etc. Since it is not illegal to fire someone for voting for a certain party, the employer is allowed to fire that person.

The employer cannot fire you for taking time off work to vote (this is protected under the constitution) but the employer can fire you for voting for a party he doesn’t like (no constitutional protection here).

jerv's avatar

@Fly It amazes me that people like that complain about taxes and “parasites” living off of taxpayers, yet they turn around and do something like cut workers hours to force them onto government assistance at taxpayer expense.
The real question then is this; are they intentional saboteurs (thus eligible for criminal charges) or merely victims of severe cognitive dissonance (thus eligible for restricted rights not unlike children or mentally handicapped adults)?

Response moderated (Spam)
Crashsequence2012's avatar

The lesson to be learned:

A job with not so hot healthcare coverage is better than no job at all.

laureth's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 re: “The American people need to understand that there are costs associated with Liberal policy.”

There are costs and benefits associated with every policy. People who are in favor of a policy tend to emphasize only the benefits, and people who are against it emphasize only the costs. The key is to measure both the costs and the benefits and decide which you’d rather live with.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

I’ll take a job please.

@JenniferP : Your reply is the result of liberal spin. Spin that says these responses from corporations are nothing but a tantrum.

That is incorrect. Instead they reflect realities of corporate budgeting, responsibilities to stockholders, ETC.

I’m hoping we will see a growing number of companies refusing to absorb the costs associated with Obama policy hiding them from the public at large as a result.

Here comes your revolution.

jerv's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 I don’t think raising the cost of a pizza a mere 15 cents would have hurt Papa John’s as consumers are used to inflation, so it seems to me that some people are incapable of doing a cost/benefit analysis. And I consider a political party who has a history of lackluster economic performance and a willingness to inflict long-term expense for the sake of short-term gain to be fiscally irresponsible.

Pay some now, or pay more later…. and the Republican party line seems to be, “Bill the grandchildren!”.

JenniferP's avatar

@Crashsequesnce-I am not liberal. I am a proud non-voter (and I will not be shamed for it.) I have no interest in politics whatsoever. If I did, I would not be liberal.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

@JenniferP I wasn’t suggesting you had a political orientation one way or another.

@jerv ”...and the Republican party line seems to be, “Bill the grandchildren!”

Respectfully, what planet are you on??

jerv's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 I’ve been keeping an eye on deficits and the National Debt for decades, and studying it’s history a bit further back. I have noticed a trend towards pushing expenses into the future, and (more notably) saving a penny now and having the next generation pay a dollar to deal with the consequences. And, more often than not, it’s those on the Red side of the aisle promoting such policies.

So to answer your question directly, I come from a planet that believes in sustainability, even if that means spending more now, because the alternative is untenable. Much of our healthcare costs are self-inflicted; early diagnosis/treatment (or just plain prevention) costs less, and improves quality of life. I play a long game.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

@jerv Agreed that healthcare costs are largely self inflicted.

Would you agree or disagree that manipulating behavior toward prevention (through product taxation, for example) is not part of the governments duties?

jerv's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 I believe that it is in the best interests of all citizens to cut government expenses, thus be able to lower taxes for all. I also believe that the government has a duty to step in where private industry has failed. Ideally, we could achieve similar results without government intervention, and I would strongly prefer that that happened as I am no fan of government intervention anyways, so I also consider Obamacare a self-inflicted wound.
The private sector is capable of doing better, but since they aren’t doing what needs to be done, somebody has to do something.

SpatzieLover's avatar

There are a few companies that stated prior to the election that if Obama won, they’d be forced to downsize due to Washington policies.

We had one local company that announced a 10% company wide layoff on Friday after the election results were in.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@SpatzieLover Are they planning on ten percent fewer customers and ten percent less revenue? If they are publicly traded company I would dump their stock NOW.

emilianate's avatar

Well it is simple math. What is more of a financial hit, taking a small penalty per employee or providing health care per employee? The math says the penalty is far cheaper.

Likewise, if you have more than 50 employees and are now required to supply health insurance for all of them, the math says to fire a bunch of employees to keep the employment level at 49 to avoid the huge financial hit and penalties.

There is no fairness in economics. Economics is about price and incentive. Fairness belongs with charity. I’d suggest actually talking to successful business men or running a successful one on your own to understand this.

flo's avatar

If you intimidate your employees into voting your way, you don’t have valid results, you are thwarting democracy.

jerv's avatar

@emilianate Doesn’t the fact that the penalty is cheaper indicate issues with the cost of insurance? And considering the quality of care we get (not even close to the Top 10) compared to the cost (more than double the second most expensive), well, I think we get into other failings of the private sector; failings that make government intervention necessary.

Also bear in mind that we are all stockholders in the United States; anything that businesses do to cost taxpayers money is bad for all, and sometimes self-defeating. If the cost of healthcare was such that the taxes on business rose as the government tried to recoup some of the costs that were passed on to it, they would be screwing themselves as well as screwing everybody else.

Too bad the true costs of certain things don’t always boil down to dollar amounts. Doubly so since there are many to whom dollars are the ONLY thing that matters.

emilianate's avatar

No, not a private failure, a state failure. When you buy groceries, you ask how much they cost, right? But when you go to the doctor, or when get your prescription filled, or get surgery, you don’t ask how much it costs, right? That is because you have health insurance that pays for all of it. This means you spend more time figuring out how much to pay for groceries than you do for a $2000 medical procedure. This is why grocery prices remain reasonable while health care costs explode because nobody is shopping around for health care, so the insurance companies make the pricing decisions which means the patients and doctors do not.

The reason this problem doesn’t happen with other kinds of insurance is because traditional insurance is protecting against rare and catastrophic events and charging a premium based on the likelihood of those events, where as medical insurance pays for everything. If car insurance paid for oil changes, you would not shop around for an oil change. You would go (more often) to the most convenient location and ask for the expensive stuff because your insurance is paying for it. Your car insurance will have too many customers getting too many pricey oil changes which means they have to raise premiums to stay in business, but if they make you pay more, then you’re going to get even more oil changes to get your money’s worth. This is the death cycle of health insurance.

Basically, since you don’t pay for most medical services, you use too much of it, which drives up the cost to the insurance company and so they have to raise your premiums but the more they charge, the more you try to get your moneys worth. On top of that, since Obama care will increase coverage by forcing everyone to buy health insurance, the problem will get worse. The more you force people to buy insurance they don’t want, the more medical services they would consume to get their money’s worth.

Another problem is that health insurance premiums are not based on how risky someone is where as car insurance is. If you’re a safer driver, you’re less likely to get into an accident than a risky teenage driver which is why you will have a much lower premium than the teenager. If, however, car insurance companies were forced to charge everyone the same premium, then they would have to increase the premiums to make up the difference for the reckless drivers. So what does this have to do with health care? Many states limit how much insurance companies can charge people with pre-existing conditions and Obama care will make it illegal to base insurance premiums on someone’s medical riskiness.

Now you might say that it’s not fair to charge someone more for a disease they couldn’t help getting, but as I said, fairness has nothing to do with economics. Economics is based on price and incentive, not fairness, and again, there are other ways to help the disadvantaged but that kind of fairness belongs with charities not health insurance. I would donate money to a charity fund with pre-existing conditions but I wouldn’t force insurance companies to charge them the same rate. Also, since insurance companies are forced to ignore pre-existing conditions, people will no longer want to buy health insurance because they can just wait until they get sick and then purchase insurance instead of wasting all that money beforehand. It’s like having the ability to purchase home owners insurance the day after your house was burned down. The only people who are going to be purchasing the insurance are those who are going to cost the health insurance companies a ton of money, which means health insurance companies would have to charge their healthy customers more and more, but that would drive even more healthy people to not buy health insurance.

That is why many young healthy Americans don’t buy health insurance. They realize they’re being overcharged to make up for the sick and elderly. This is also why Obama care has to force everyone to buy health insurance. If they didn’t, the lack of healthy people kicking money into the insurance pool would collapse the system. Making a product less desirable for customers, then forcing them to buy it is not an elegant solution. It’s like pouring gasoline on a fire, then buying a bigger fire extinguisher. When Obama care is fully implemented, a lot more people will have health insurance, so a lot more people will now want to visit the doctor, especially since the new law makes cheaper higher deductible policies illegal. Forcing people to pay for premium insurance will drive them to seek more doctors visits to get their money’s worth. Demand for doctors will go up but the supply of doctors will remain the same. Since the same amount of doctors will have to handle many more patients, there will be a lot longer wait times and lower quality of service. Obama care basically increases the demand for services without increasing the supply which means prices go up and quality goes down.

These are only some of the side effects. Obama care is over 2800 pages long. There are people who follow a lot of it and created a flow chart—Obamacare FlowChart

68 grant programs,
47 bureaucratic entities,
29 demonstration or pilot programs,
6 regulatory systems,
6 compliance standards and 2 entitlements.
2200 references in the law and 600 new authorities which cannot be challenged.
150 new bureaucracies and boards have been created between doctor and patient.
17 new mandates on insurance.
Green diamond are taxes
the chart is only actually ⅓ of the size so it shows “bundles of bureaucracy.”
one brown bundle hides 59 grant programs.
19 special interest provisions, including the “Louisiana Purchase” and special interests for unions.
Buried deep in the law are 19 special sections that cannot be challenged by the courts or any regulatory system.

16,500 new IRS agents to police the law and an explosion of jobs in the HHS Department.

wundayatta's avatar

Thank you, @emilianate. You have listed all the reasons why the market can not work in health care and why we need a single payer system. Streamline and simplify. Set global budgets. Negotiate with doctors for an acceptable fee schedule. Implement best practices in a standard way. Have the most efficient insurance pool possible (everyone is in one pool), so that you have the greatest bargaining power and can get the best discounts. This is the only way we can establish a free market in health care.

emilianate's avatar

No, i listed the damage the government/state does. Single player would cause ten times the damage. That would really be self-infliction, but I’m not writing another explanation on that. We need to do the opposite. Keep it between doctors and patients. That is it. No government/state involvement at all.

wundayatta's avatar

You are a true believer, aren’t you? All theory. No reality. Did you take a number of economics courses? Chicago, perhaps?

emilianate's avatar

You don’t need to take economic courses to understand that fairness doesn’t belong in economics. That is your entire theme, fairness. Government needs to make policies to make things fair. Blah, Blah. You don’t care how it works out economically as long as it is fair. I’m willing to bet anything that you never ran your own business, or if you did, it wasn’t much of a success.

I just talk to a business man when I want the reality. I just spoke to a friend two weeks ago who as an upper management position at Barclays Bank. She said a bunch of employees were recently laid off because of the affects of the dodd-frank act. That is reality. I don’t need to a blog, or politician telling me how great it is. I go to the people it affects and ask them.

Every nation in history that tried to incorporate fairness into economics eventually collapsed. Takes a while, especially since we use printing presses, but it all goes down in flames. On that note, see ya.

jerv's avatar

A false premise in the first paragraph, building on it for a screen and a half, stating that they seek confirmation bias and treat that as truth, and then leaving… no wonder it’s increasingly hard to take Conservatives seriously! And for any old-school Conservatives who are reading this, please, do us all a favor and disown these wingnuts so that we continue to have a viable alternative to Democrats!

emilianate's avatar

No false premise jerv, just a dose of reality you didn’t want to read.

I’d take it even a step further by asking why blame the systems (government or markets) for all the problems, and not the people? To prove this is easy. There are constantly people succeeding from the ground up in a supposedly “unjust society” – according to all the blame shifters. So who says that things are expensive? Why not assume that it is just you who doesn’t make enough money?

Let me put it this way; when you go on a bunch of dates and you constantly blame the girls for all the problems in the date and for why you cannot get married, the pattern becomes clear that you’re the problem, not the myriad of girls you dated. Likewise, when you endlessly blame republicans and free-market failures for all the problems, or the government, the obvious answer is that you’re the problem, not the systems. You don’t know how to adapt to your environment, so blame shifting seems like an evolutionary tactic that promotes victim-hood which plays on the emotions of naive altruists, creating the illogical “fairness” society.

For the record, I grew up in poverty and got out of it by spending 5 years of my life working 110–120 hours per week. Even a guy with no legs in this country can work by picking up a telephone, or typing on a computer, etc. So all the poor complainers and their sympathizing supporters are full of shit, sincerely, the ex-poor.

“No jobs out there”, my ass. A relative of mine has a job that entails him to travel across the states, and everywhere he went, there were job openings, particularly minimum wage jobs.

I can understand some legitimate cases of people getting sick, fine. See charity for fairness, but even then you have to pay attention to these so called sick people. People who don’t eat healthy, people who smoke, drugs, people who don’t exercise, people who use chemicals without proper precautions, these people are bullshit too.

jerv's avatar

“When you buy groceries, you ask how much they cost, right? But when you go to the doctor, or when get your prescription filled, or get surgery, you don’t ask how much it costs, right?


” If car insurance paid for oil changes, you would not shop around for an oil change. You would go (more often) to the most convenient location and ask for the expensive stuff because your insurance is paying for it.”

You REALLY don’t know me! I don’t even take my car in for a head gasket; I have skills and trust issues! I mean, Jesus fucking Christ that was some funny shit!

I get your point about being wiling to pay any price when you are using somebody else’s money, and that is why I oppose Conservative economic policy! But you are too partisan to see how passing the expense on to others hurts; you only see how having the expense passed on to you hurts, without any regard for others. That actually fits the clinical definition of “psychopath”.

Minimum wage jobs may get you a 4 bedroom house in Missouri, but you cannot even feed yourself for that little (let alone live indoors) in most places I’ve lived. Maybe you need to get out more, and see the really real world. And when I was unemployed for 13 months despite applying for even those shitty minimum wage jobs, I found out how full of shit that “there are jobs everywhere” twaddle was. And I have a relative who worked for the State as an Employer Relations Specialist for 30 years, so odds are that I know a bit more about he job market than you and your travelling relative since I spent most of my life following this stuff (like it or not; they took work home with them) while you haven’t.

Still, there are more jobs out there under Democrats than under Republicans, more corporate profits under Dems… basically, just about every measure that matters favors the Dems.

I don’t entirely blame Republicans for the failings of the free market though. I blame them for not doing anything about it, and for actively blocking any measures to fix it. My blame against the republicans is more akin to wanting to prosecute the driver of the getaway car at a bank heist; they didn’t actually rob the bank, but they facilitated it in a way that makes them criminally liable.

But you no longer amuse me, and you definitely cannot hold a decent conversation, so I am off to do something more stimulating… like change the cat box.

emilianate's avatar

So many lies just to keep yourself out of blame, good noble work. It’s alright, you’ll learn the hard way.

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