If you are walking down the street wearing a Trump MAGA hat, and someone stops you and says, “Take that hat off, or else you might regret it.” Do you have legal recourse? Can you sue someone who threatens you or attacks you for wearing a Trump hat?
Or, what about the situation where you go into a restaurant wearing a “Trump for President” T-shirt, and you are told that they cannot serve you. Can a restaurant refuse to serve you because you are a Republican that supports Donald Trump?
Or, what if you walk into a restaurant wearing a George Floyd T-shirt, and the owner tells you to leave? Can you be forced to leave because you support Black Lives Matter?
What if you mention to your boss that you like Donald Trump, but your boss informs you that he does not support hate, and that he has to let you go because he cannot tolerate a supporter of hate in his company. Can your boss fire you because you support Trump?
Or, what if you post a Black Lives Matter picture in your cubicle at work, and your boss takes objection to it, and fires you. Can you be fired because you support Black Lives Matter?
Can you do anything about any of these incidents?
The answer is, yes.
In California, there are several laws that deal with political discrimination: The Ralph Act of Civil Code §51.7, the Bane Act of Civil Code §52.1, as well as the California Labor Code.
These laws make it illegal to harass, intimidate, terminate employment, refuse to provide service, or threaten anyone for holding a particular political view. Under the Ralph Act, any violence or threat of violence committed against a person because of their political view is an automatic $25,000 penalty. Under the Ralph Act, the perpetrator must also pay for your attorney’s fees if you sue.
The law allows people to hold a particular political view, and protects them against anyone who tries to harm them in any way. This is America. We all get to hold our own political views. Nobody can punish you for holding a political view. Any attempt to do so is completely illegal.
Feel free to contact me, Craig Fagan, with any questions. I can be reached at (800) 572-8365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.