Discussions regarding the Presidential Campaigns seem impossible to avoid. The media is bombarding us with information as this election year there are many “firsts” in our history. Freedom of speech is our right – but is it right to discuss politics in the workplace?
Politics, personal finances and religion are topics that are best avoided in the workplace. You cannot assume that because a person may share your views on sports, entertainment, books, etc., that they also share your political views. If you are unsure of your colleague’s views, it is best to avoid political discussion
Most companies do not have a formal policy for political discussions in the workplace. However, business owners, executives, managers and supervisors need to be particularly careful about debates and communicating their political views. Members of the management team should not put themselves in a position that could leave them vulnerable to discrimination lawsuits.
If a supervisor observes a discussion getting out of hand, he/she must manage the conflict before it escalates.
Do not campaign at work. If you are in management, it puts the employees in an awkward position, fearing retaliation if they don’t share your beliefs.
Do not base any employment decisions on a subordinate’s political beliefs.
Make sure employees understand that you expect everyone to honor diverse opinions, and beliefs. Many include the phrase “political affiliations” in their harassment policies.
Employees who repeatedly attack or scorn the political, religious or other beliefs of coworkers should be subject to progressive discipline.
Freedom of expression is a good thing. However, the discussion of politics, religion and differing beliefs must not be allowed to develop into workplace conflict.
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