As America gets ready to hire a new CEO, the Labor &
Employment team will be issuing a series of alerts with a focus on
pertinent issues related to the upcoming presidential election
(e.g., voting rights, how this election might affect employers
through executive orders, federal agencies, and upcoming
employment-related Supreme Court cases). In the wake of this
weekend's second Presidential Debate, and in anticipation of
employer questions to follow, we hold the floor with an alert on
voting rights impacting employers.
A central theme of American democracy is the right to vote.
Notably, however, there is no federal statute requiring employers
to provide time off from work for employees to exercise that
fundamental right. While federal law is absent, a majority of
states mandate that employers provide time off for employees to
vote. Moreover, a number of those states, including Texas, require
not only that time be provided, but that in some circumstances,
this time should be paid.
It is also important to remember that according to voting laws
in many states, including Texas, employees must be free to take
time off to vote without threats, intimidation or any other
penalty. See Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 276.004.
Additionally, employees cannot be penalized or receive benefits for
voting for a particular candidate, or refusing to disclose how they
voted. Id. Texas employers who violate these protections
could face a Class C misdemeanor, and employers throughout the
country who violate their respective state voting laws could face
penalties/fines of up to $10,000 (e.g., individual employers in
Missouri1 may be fined $2,500, while
Arizona2 corporations could be assessed up to
$10,000) or, in some cases, jail time and even forfeiture of their
corporate charter (e.g., New York3 and
In preparation for election day, employers—especially
multistate employers—should ensure that any existing voting
policies and any required notices comply with applicable state
voting laws. Employers should also take measures to educate both
managers and staff of relevant policies and affirm the right of all
employees to exercise their civic duty.
Stay tuned for our next alert on key United States Supreme Court
cases that could have a significant impact on employers in
1. Mo. Ann. Stat. §§ 115.637, 115.639 (West
2. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §16-402 (2016)
3. N.Y. Election Law § 3-110 (McKinney
4. COLO. REV. STAT. ANN. §§ 1-7-102, 1-13-719
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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