November 30, 2018 the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) clarified the November 27 extension of its March 5, 2018 guidance regarding the Hatch Act.
OSC believes “that “#resist” and “the Resistance” are slogans of political parties and partisan political groups.” OSC advises that employees may violate the Hatch Act by using or displaying in isolation “#resist” or “the Resistance” while on duty or in the workplace.
Select quotes from the latest guidance of OSC are listed below and you can view the full OSC memo here.
“Usages of the terms “resist” and “the Resistance”[by a Federal employee] while on duty or in the workplace that are not directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group are not prohibited by the Hatch Act. For example, using “#resist” in relation to an issue, such as “#ResistHate” or “#ResistKavanaugh,” is not political activity under the Hatch Act. We will continue to evaluate the facts and circumstances of each individual complaint that we receive in order to determine whether any alleged conduct violates the Hatch Act.”
“OSC’s guidance only applies to covered employees while they are on duty or in the workplace. It does not impose any restrictions on the ability of employees to engage in political activity while off-duty and away from the workplace.”
Clear as mud? If you are a Federal employee or a contractor (in some instances), be careful when using your social media when on duty. Consult an experienced attorney if you need to. We will not yet discuss past U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning work place activity and when it is not protected by the First Amendment.
Posted Dec. 4, 2018 on https://williamaramony.com/