A Political Activism Question of the Day

Are you worried that publicly sharing your political beliefs might cost you your job?

Photo credit: angela n., CC BY 2.0.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m participating in the Womxn’s March on Seattle this weekend — which means my mind has had plenty of time to anticipate all the things that could go wrong, either at the Seattle march or at any of the other marches across the country.

I am asking myself, in all seriousness, whether I’m willing to participate in an event in which I could theoretically get arrested (unlikely in Seattle, where march organizers are working with both the police and fire departments, but still worth considering) or attacked. Or, you know, I’ll let your imagination fill in the rest.

But the one thing I won’t have to worry about is losing my job.

Get in Formation: The Working Girl’s Guide to Joining the Trump Resistance

When it comes to a job search, Trump detractors face an even bigger threat. If you’re arrested at a protest — for trespassing, say, or disturbing the peace — you could wind up with a black mark on your criminal record. And even more benign offenses, like a photo of an anti-Trump sign on a candidate’s Facebook page, can hinder the hiring process, says recruiting expert Alysse Metzler. In her 2013 book The Recruiting Snitch, Metzler surveyed over 100 U.S. recruiters — 70% of whom said they “sometimes” or “always” looking candidates up on social media. “If their online presence is filled with their political views, it will raise a red flag,” Metzler says.

I currently live in a sanctuary city with a sick and safe leave policy for all employers with more than four FTE employees. We’re working towards a $15 minimum wage, and the government just handed out $100 in democracy vouchers to every registered voter. Putting my political views on social media is likely to be seen as a plus.

I Have Democracy Vouchers Now!

But not everybody gets that privilege. The Time article quoted above asks us to consider what might happen if we go to a protest, and even though we’re one of thousands of marchers, some photog snaps a pic at just the right time and it’s our face that ends up on all the newspapers (or in all the retweets). How would our employers feel about that?

Are you asking yourselves these questions, as we prepare for whatever’s going to happen this weekend? Are you wondering whether something as simple as taking the ACLU oath — or wearing a MAGA hat, because this goes both ways — and putting it on social media might affect your ability to earn a living?

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