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The Practical Employer

Elect to Do the Right Thing for Employees Taking Time Off From Work to Vote

If you’re thinking of disciplining or firing an employee who arrives late, leaves early or takes a long lunch to exercise the right to vote … just don’t.
Tuesday is Election Day (oh, thank God). As long as Election Day remains a working day, employees will show up to work late, leave work early or take long lunches just so that they can vote.WF_WebSite_BlogHeaders-11
16_Editorial_ElectionCheck your state and local laws. Here, Ohio law requires that an employer provide all employees a reasonable amount of time off to vote on election day. According to Ohio Revised Code 3599.06:

No employer, his officer or agent, shall discharge or threaten to discharge an elector for taking a reasonable amount of time to vote on election day…. Whoever violates this section shall be fined not less than fifty nor more than five hundred dollars.

The time off does not have to be paid, but companies should be wary of docking exempt employees.

If you employ folks outside of Ohio, and are curious if your state has a similar law, I recommend checking out this state-by-state voting rights summary at Robin Shea’s always excellent Employment & Labor Insider.

And, if you’re thinking of disciplining or firing an employee who arrives late, leaves early or takes a long lunch to exercise the right to vote … just don’t. Legal or illegal, it’s just a crappy thing to do.

Jon Hyman is a partner at Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis in Cleveland. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com. Follow Hyman’s blog at Workforce.com/PracticalEmployer.

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