3 Laws Every Employer Should Consider During Election Season

In this Bloomberg Law interview, Lee Pacchia and Jonathan Salant discuss the specific legal needs of a presidential campaign, and why attorneys are cashing in big in this year’s political contest. But staying on the right side of election laws isn’t a concern just for candidates. Businesses of all sizes – from small companies to corporations to nonprofits – need to understand and follow the rules, too.

Here’s a look at three election-related political activities that should be on your business radar screen as the Republican National Convention kicks off the serious electoral sparring (with related reading below):

1. Use caution when responding to employee political speech in the workplace:

“Most employers are generally familiar with the laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age and certain other protected characteristics, but many are not aware that the law also protects employees in their exercise of political rights… The laws protecting the right to political activity and expression can be particularly problematic for employers because they impose liability for violations committed by managers and employees, and violations of the law constitute a criminal offense in addition to subjecting the employer to civil liability.” (Hopkins & Carley)

2. Make sure your business doesn’t violate campaign finance laws:

Key considerations for corporate counsel:

  • No reimbursement of employees for political contributions
  • Federal law prohibits corporate employees from facilitating contributions
  • Corporations can allow employees “incidental use” of facilities for political fundraising (Lawline.com)

3. Tread carefully when mixing lobbying and political activities:

“This updated Guide to Political and Lobbying Activities … is intended to provide general guidance by highlighting some of the major restrictions on political and lobbying activities at the federal level. This guide focuses on the limitations and restrictions applicable to individuals, corporations, and corporate PACs, including special limitations applicable to corporations organized as public charities under Section 510(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.” (K&L Gates)

The updates:

Related – an election year legal reader:

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