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Steve Helber / AP

Federal employment law doesn't ban discrimination based on political affiliation. A minority of states ban discrimination based on political activity:

  • Some states ban firing based on "political activity," including California, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia. Cities like Seattle and Madison fall on this list, too.
  • Montana also bans firing absent good cause, which would protect political activity.
  • New Mexico bans firing based on "political opinions."
  • Statutes protect belonging to a political party in D.C., Iowa, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. This also includes Broward County (Fl.) and Urbana (Il.).
  • Colorado and North Dakota ban firing based on off-duty lawful activity (including speech), while Connecticut protects employees from retaliation for speech broadly.
  • Illinois, New York, and Washington have laws that apply to election-related activities.
  • Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Guam ban retaliation for petitions or voting.

The Washington Post's Eugene Volokh did a deep dive on this topic, looking at political speech rights and where you can get fired for it.

Why it matters: "The First Amendment applies only to government employers; it doesn't apply to nongovernmental entities (whether or not those entities have government funding or contracts)," per Volokh.

What it means: If someone is fired on these grounds, these laws would all "likely authorize civil lawsuits," Volokh writes. And the First Amendment keeps all of this in the balance since it is possible it would preempt any claims that political speech creates a hostile work environment, protecting the person who participated in political speech.

Caveat: Most employment is "at-will," meaning an employer can fire an employee for whatever reason, so long as it isn't forbidden by a statute.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot

Photo: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidelines Tuesday that some immunocompromised people who have received either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a fourth shot.

Details: People over 18 who are "moderately to severely immunocompromised" and have received three doses of an mRNA vaccine may get a fourth shot (of either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) at least six months after getting their third Pfizer or Moderna dose, per the CDC.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden plan expected to include at least $500B for climate

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is privately telling lawmakers the climate portion of President Biden's roughly $2 trillion social spending plan is "mostly settled" and will likely cost more than $500 billion, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: A pricetag of $500-$555 billion is a huge number and, if it holds, would likely be the single biggest component of the sweeping package. It also isn't far off from the roughly $600 billion proposed when the bill was expected to cost $3.5 trillion.

2 hours ago - World

U.S. presses Gulf countries to help resolve Sudan coup crisis

Jake Sullivan briefs the press. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The Biden administration has asked its partners in the Gulf and elsewhere to press the Sudanese generals who carried out a coup on Monday to release captives including Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and to reinstate the civilian government, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The U.S. has limited influence over coup leader Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and other military leaders, many of whom have close ties to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.