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

UPDATED: Jan 11, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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