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Employment Discrimination Blog

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Understanding Your Right to Vote During the Work Day

The 2016 Presidential election is fast upon us (in case you hadn’t heard), and the official day to cast in-person ballots is Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Historically, Election Day is always held on the first Tuesday in November, and as such falls squarely in the middle of the work week for most folks. If you are concerned as to how you will be able to find time to vote during the work day – particularly if your polling place is historically crowded with long wait times – the following details your rights with regard to being able to leave work to vote.

First and foremost, there is no federal law that governs this issue, so Georgia state laws will apply to determine the rights of both workers and employers with regard to time off. Fortunately, Georgia is in the majority of states that grant a few hours off to employees to go cast their ballot in the election. Under Georgia Code § 21-2-404, an employee must provide “reasonable notice” to his or her employer of the intention to cast a vote on Election Day. From there, the employer must allow the “necessary time off” from work to vote in not only the Presidential election, but any municipal, county or state election as well. In order for these rights to apply, the employee must be qualified and registered to vote on Election Day.

On the employer rights side, an employer need not offer more than two hours’ time off for an employee to vote. Further, an employer need not offer time off at all if: (i) the employee’s work start time begins more than two hour after the opening of the polls, or (ii) the hours of work concluded at least two hours before the closing of the polls. As well, an employer may specify the exact hours during which an employee may “absent himself or herself” under this Code section

While at this time Georgia does allow for early voting, statewide polling hours for Election Day are 7am through 7pm – hours which may prove problematic for anyone working a 12-hour shift on that day. Fortunately, these laws apply without exception to anyone who cannot make it to the polling place during work hours, and help to protect workers’ fundamental right to cast a ballot on this most pivotal Election Day.

To learn more about your workplace rights, contact Pankey & Horlock, LLC today!

To discuss a workplace discrimination issue, please contact our office today: 770-670-6250.


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The attorneys of Pankey & Horlock, LLC serve the entire state of Georgia, including Atlanta, Alpharetta, Auburn, Decatur, Doraville, Douglasville, Duluth, Kennesaw, Lawrenceville, Marietta, Stone Mountain, Dekalb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, and Cobb County, GA.



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