How to Determine Rutan-Exempt Employees

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An employee in a Rutan-exempt position actually has less job security than average. The 1990 ruling in Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois states that employees in the state of Illinois cannot be hired, transferred, promoted or terminated based on their political party affiliation. While the law protects many workers in both the public and private sector, some exemptions to the law exist. To determine if an employee occupies a Rutan-exempt position, you must know the criteria as set forth by the ruling.

  • Inquire with the human resources department to determine if the position is a temporary one. A 1991 Illinois-state ruling decreed that temporary positions are exempt from the tenants of the Rutan decision.

  • Research the position to ascertain if political affiliation is in direct correlation to the performance of duties. For example, a political aide's position or a job where one would determine policy is party-driven. The nature of these positions makes them Rutan-exempt.

  • Search the state's online database. The State Journal-Register-sponsored site "The Dome" has a database that you can search. Searches can be by category, county or position (see Resources).

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