FIRE THEM! OR CAN YOU?

RothLawBusiness Services

In the wake of the events in Charlottesville, a question came up in the business community.  Can you fire someone for being a white supremacist?

The short answer in Florida is yes.  We are an at-will employment state.  You can fire someone for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reason at all.  You cannot fire someone for illegal reasons.  Those fall under two broad categories: whistle-blowers (retaliation), and discrimination.

But political opinion is not a protected class, so it is not unlawful discrimination for a private employer to fire a white supremacist; or for that matter a black activist, a rabid environmentalist, a Trumpist or a Bernie Bro, a run-of-the-mill Republican or Democrat.  It can get silly but you can do it.

There are, as always, nuances to that.  If an employer were to fire a white supremacist, but not an equally vocal black activist, the former might have an argument that the termination is really racially and not politically motivated.  Conversely, some smaller businesses are not subject to non-discrimination laws.  So there is a long answer to all this.  But the short one is still yes.