Originally published - Summer 2019 Voice of Colorado
by Jill Taulbee, Secretary/Treasurer, CPWU
The Hatch Act became law in 1939. It prohibits federal employees, including postal workers, from engaging in political activities while on duty or in a federal building. Political activity is defined as activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, partisan political group, or candidate for partisan office. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is in charge of overseeing provision, of the Hatch Act.
• May not engage in political activity while on duty, in the workplace, wearing a uniform or official insignia, or in a government vehicle;
• May not wear, display, or distribute partisan political buttons, t-shirts, signs, or other items;
• May not perform campaign related chores;
• May not make political contributions to a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office or partisan political group;
• May not use email or social media to engage in political activity.
• May be a candidate in a nonpartisan election;
• May register and vote as they choose;
• May assist-in voter registration drives;
• May contribute money to the political campaigns, political parties, or partisan political groups.
Any employee who violates the Hatch Act is subject to a range of disciplinary actions including removal from federal service, reduction in grade, debarment from federal service for a period not to exceed 5 years, suspension, letter of reprimand, or civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.00.
DON'T RISK LOSING YOUR JOB!
It would be in your best interest to leave all your political gear at home and your political views off social media, and the workroom floor. Do not think for a minute that the Postal Service does not monitor social media accounts. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, whose job is to enforce the Hatch Act, and the Postal Service will go after employees for violations of the act.
Several postal employees have been fired as a result of violating the Hatch Act by posting political views or comments on social and/or bringing campaign material promoting a candidate to work, The employees may have been able to get their jobs back, but settlement agreements ranged-from 30 — 60 day suspensions or longer. This is a serious matter; don't take the risk of losing your job. More information on the Hatch Act can be found through the Office of Special Council website, osc.gov.