Should an employer be allowed to fire an employee based on the employee’s political views?
- Generally, Yes
- Generally, No
The Drudge Report recently published a story in which the Editor-in-Chief of Playgirl magazine admitted to voting for George Bush in the 2004 election.
It appears that this revelation has resulted in Michele Zipp (the Playgirl editor) being fired from her job, reporting that she: "received a phone call from a leading official from Playgirl magazine, in which he stated with a laugh, ‘I wouldn’t have hired you if I knew you were a Republican.’"
General Freedom to Contract
Anyone who followed the “Fired for Smoking” thread in the Open Forum a while back will know that I am generally a strong supporter of the freedom of individuals to enter into private contracts with minimal government interference. That’s why I supported the right of an employer to fire an employee for smoking, and that’s why I support the right of Playgirl to fire this woman for being a Republican.
In the smoking context, I think many people viewed the question from the point of view of the employee, asking: Do I, as an employee, have the right to smoke in my free time? But to me, it is just as legitimate to ask the question from the other perspective: Do I, as a business owner, have the right to fire someone without getting permission from the lawyers/courts/government?
Certain Limitations Still Apply
None of this is to say that there should be NO restrictions on the right of an employer to choose his/her workforce. I support anti-discrimation laws, for example, that would prevent an employer from hiring/firing on the basis of race. But unless we are talking about a group that has been victimized in the past, and is thus deemed to require special protection, I think there should be freedom of contract among the parties involved.
Where do political views fit in?
So where do people stand when it comes to a firing based on political opinions? Are Republicans a group which require extra protection under the law? Should ALL views be protected (what if the person is a neo-Nazi?)
Clearly questions like these may affect how one would vote in the poll. But to keep things simple, I decided to only go with only four choices. (There was also no room in the poll, for example, for "Yes, but only if the employee is a Republican )