Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.
Regarding the Hatch Act, I know that jokes in email, blogs, etc., are out of bounds. But can one employee show another an Onion parody of the Republican National Convention speaker lineup on a piece of paper? In the workplace as a sidebar?
On one hand, it is a newspaper. On the other, it was pretty funny.
There’s an allowance for what are called “water cooler” discussions, and it sounds like what you are talking about may fit that exception. Still, it is best to keep politics out of the federal workplace. And, if you are a supervisor, do not show your Onion article to a subordinate. It will likely be misinterpreted.
Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.
Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.