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Thread: Truth/Myth of Government Employees re: political signs, etc...

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    Truth/Myth of Government Employees re: political signs, etc...

    I have a call into the State AG's Office, hoping for a reply on Monday. In the meantime, I did find something online about it, but it was only someone's reply (several responses) to the "Best Answer to a Question" blog. Akin to early Wikipedia.

    The conventional wisdom is government employees, be they local (city), parish, state, or Federal, can not place a "Vote for XXXX" sign in their yard, wear caps/shirts, and/or engage in political activity of any kind. As a former, and hopefully again, government employee I found that to be a violation of my First Amendment rights (although it was a convenient crutch to ward off all those "can I place a sign in your yard?" folks). However, based on what I have been able to learn thus far, it's simply not true. Which makes sense, I am sure you would agree.

    Basically, any government employee has some restrictions...well, let's use Ms. Smith as an example. She is a 9th grade teacher in a public high school. She can not wear political garb to work, nor display signs or bumper stickers, buttons, flyers, anything such stuff in her classroom. Technically, as for the bumper sticker, she is not supposed to have it on her car if she uses that car to go to work in, as it is then on public property. Away from the actual campus, she is also restricted of wearing/displaying any political signage if on official school business. For instance, Ms. Smith also works with the school's cheerleaders and accompanies them to all games, including away games. No political garb allowed for the game on Friday night.

    BUT! let's say she has a nephew that plays football for another public school, they have a game on Thursday night and she wears a "Vote for XXXX" cap to that game. Same parish school system, but she is NOT there on business, just as a fan. She can wear the cap.

    At her house she can display whatever political signage she wants. UNLESS, and this wouldn't be the case for our teacher, she officially "works from home." Any government employee authorized to work from home during business hours and in official capacity for some government entity cannot display political signage at their house. But, if it is strictly a private residence, government employees enjoy the same First Amendment rights as "regular" Americans. Which I'm sure you are now saying, "well, of course!"

    This above explanation is my best understanding of what I have been able to find, so far, searching the Net. If any of you highly educated and learned folks have other information, especially to the contrary, I would appreciate you sharing it. Thanks.

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    Re: Truth/Myth of Government Employees re: political signs, etc...

    Having worked in federal service for 20+ years as both military and civilian the general rule of thumb I always lived by was do what you want, just donít campaign at work or connect it to your federal gig in ANY way.

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    Re: Truth/Myth of Government Employees re: political signs, etc...

    Each government entity has their own rules. General best practices boil down to what Dawginmiami said.

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    https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-over...-hatch-act.pdf
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    Re: Truth/Myth of Government Employees re: political signs, etc...

    Louisiana Civil Service rules spell out pretty much the same as expressed in the first three posts. See subsection (e)

    https://www.civilservice.louisiana.g...Chapter14.aspx

  5. #5
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    Re: Truth/Myth of Government Employees re: political signs, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by JAAgan View Post
    Louisiana Civil Service rules spell out pretty much the same as expressed in the first three posts. See subsection (e)

    https://www.civilservice.louisiana.g...Chapter14.aspx
    Classified employees, i.e. those in "civil service" are restricted. Teachers, college professors, many of the staffs (unclassified), coaches, and other government employees not part of "civil service" are all "less restricted," and are free, on their own time, to engage in political activity. Of course they cannot while at place of work or when on official business.

    Thanks for the responses. Another example of why this is the most intelligent/informative "fan board" on the WWW!

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