Q: Is it legal for me to talk to my employees about the political or public policy issues that could impact their job security?
A: Yes, it is legal for you to discuss such issues with your employees. Basic free-market civic education is part of our American heritage and is certainly appropriate for discussion.
Q: May I encourage employees to vote on election day?
A: Yes, you may encourage your employees to vote on election day. In fact, you may provide voter registration information and you may even allow them time-off or flex schedule to allow them time to get to the polls. While educating on issues encouraging them to vote is a good thing, it is not appropriate to tell them for whom to vote. That is their private decision.
Q: How do I let employees know I am not trying to tell them who to vote for; I am only trying to help them understand the difficulties I face in trying to pay their paycheck?
A: The best approach is honesty. The saying, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” applies in this situation. Once your employees know you are genuinely concerned about their personal job security and prosperity, they are more likely to listen to and learn from information you may provide.
Q: May I share with employees my personal and/or corporate experiences related to the effects of taxation, regulation, or legislation and corporate profitability?
A: Yes, you may share personal experiences. Remain non-partisan and stick to facts. In most instances, the numbers will tell the story. Whether it is the high cost of health care, the increased labor cost to document adherence to regulations, or legal fees needed to ensure lawful compliance to new laws, you may share how profits are ultimately affected. It will be helpful for the employee to understand the direct correlation between that expense and their own job security. Be frank and direct whenever possible. Remain nonpartisan and stick to the facts.
Q: May I encourage employees to get involved in the political process?
A: You may encourage employees to get involved in the political process, but only in a non-partisan manner. Encourage them to become educated and vote their conscience. You may encourage them to support their own choice of candidates or issues.
Q: What if someone complains?
A: You may receive a complaint or two. However, what you are doing is legal. You are simply educating your workforce about the policy issues that positively and negatively affect their employment. When presented with sincerity and honesty, most people will appreciate your efforts even if they may disagree.
Q: Do I need a lawyer to do this?
A: No, you do not need a lawyer to do this. You are free to discuss the issues with your employees. If you have corporate counsel it may be advantageous to have a document stating the legality of the discussions, but it is not necessary to success.
Q: Can I register people to vote?
A: No, you cannot register people to vote, but you may provide them with voter registration forms and information about how to register.
Answers to these questions do not constitute legal advice. Please contact your attorney if you have further questions.