Can a manager harass me because of my stance on abortion and other political topics?

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Can a manager harass me because of my stance on abortion and other political topics?

I have a manager who frequently harasses me because of my political beliefs. For example, she refers to me as “baby killer” when referring to me in conversations with other co-workers. She also make snide, snippy comments every time I mention anything about children. This causes me great distress in the workplace, because she is trying to get my job taken from me. I was just wondering if there were anything I can do legally to get her to stop harassing me.

Asked on January 11, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you work for the government, you may be able to make her stop: the first amendment protection of freedom of speech applies to the government, including government jobs.

On the other hand, if you work for a private employer, there is probably nothing you can do. The first amendment does not apply to private employers--an employer is free to denigrate or attack an employee's beliefs. More generally, the law does not require an employer to treat employees with respect, consideration, professionalism, etc.--the law lets your manager be as nasty and harassing as she'd like.

Note that if you do not have an employment contract, then she does not need to harass you--legally, she could simply fire you.


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