In light of upcoming elections, the Office of Human Resources sends a friendly reminder regarding election activity in the workplace.
Oregon law prohibits the use of public funds, equipment, and supplies to advocate for or against a candidate or ballot measure and restricts what public employees, which includes University of Oregon employees, may do in support of or opposition to a candidate or ballot measure.
Public employees on their work time may NOT:
- collect funds, distribute campaign materials, or prepare correspondence on behalf of a political committee, ballot measure, or candidate;
- produce, copy, or distribute documents that advocate for or against a ballot measure or a candidate;
- post website information, transmit emails, or make a presentation that advocates for or against a ballot measure or candidate;
- make outgoing calls to schedule or organize campaign events or other activity that advocates for or against a ballot measure or candidate;
- encourage others to volunteer for a partisan political committee or efforts related to a candidate or ballot measure;
- place posters that advocate for or against a ballot measure or candidate in a public work space or facing out on doors or windows;
- distribute flyers that advocate for or against a ballot measure or candidate.
Public employees MAY:
- engage in non-partisan activities that promote political participation, such as voter registration drives;
- express their views on issues facing our community that are not on the ballot;
- use personal time, lunch hours, breaks, and days off for partisan political activity;
- express personal political views;
- wear campaign buttons at work;
- provide balanced, objective information on ballot measures;
- impartially advise other public employees about possible effects of a ballot measure;
- use personal time and personal equipment to write letters in their personal capacity expressing an opinion on a ballot measure or candidate.
Oregon law prohibits the use of public funds, equipment, and supplies to advocate for or against a ballot measure or candidate and restricts what public employees (which include University of Oregon employees) may do in support of or opposition to a ballot measure or candidate.
ORS 260.432 (3) requires employees receive the following notification:
ATTENTION ALL PUBLIC EMPLOYEES:
The restrictions imposed by the law of the State of Oregon on your political activities are that “No public employee shall solicit any money, influence, service or other thing of value or otherwise promote or oppose any political committee or promote or oppose the nomination or election of a candidate, the gathering of signatures on an initiative, referendum or recall petition, the adoption of a measure or the recall of a public office holder while on the job during working hours. However, this section does not restrict the right of a public employee to express personal political views.”
It is therefore the policy of the state and of your public employer that you may engage in political activity except to the extent prohibited by state law when on the job during working hours.
The University of Oregon's policy on political activities is available for review in the policy library:
For further clarification or questions, please contact HR at email@example.com or 541-346-3159.
The University of Oregon fully supports the legally protected right to peaceful protest. In fact, peaceful protest has been a force for positive social change around the nation and on this campus in the past.
If you choose to participate in lawful protests, please be aware of your personal safety and the safety of others. Continue to follow health and safety practices to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Do not participate if you have COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19 or have recently been exposed to COVID-19. Should a peaceful or law-abiding protest escalate to violence or criminal activity, seek personal safety and contact law enforcement.
Respect in the Workplace
The social and political climate may be an additional source of anxiety and disagreement for many people. Our community is not politically homogenous, and it is okay for people to have differing opinions. Please remember the University of Oregon’s values of respecting others, seeking truth and understanding, and rationally weighing ideas and facts.
Canopy, our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider, offers a few basic rules for promoting respect and communicating about differences in the workplace:
- Avoid rushing to judgments.
- Recognize when your own biases and stereotypes are influencing how you interact with others.
- Avoid thinking in an “us” and “them” way that promotes tension in the workplace.
- Be sensitive to religious, cultural, racial and social backgrounds of your coworkers.
- Avoid casual language that includes slang or jokes that are offensive.
- Managing Election Stress
- Managing Political Anxiety
- Managing Disagreement
- Voting Resources
- Resources for Managers and Supervisors
Benefits-eligible employees can get confidential support through the EAP to help when struggling in interactions with co-workers or people in their personal life:
- Call: 800-433-2320
- Text: 503-850-7721
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org