Office politics: preventing disruptive discourse

October 15, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by David L. Johnson

Recently, a Pennsylvania YMCA stopped showing cable news shows on the TVs in its gym because they were prompting political squabbles among its members. When filtered into the diverse workplace, passionate opposing political viewpoints can harm productivity and morale and even create liability issues for employers. Sometimes political discussions can morph into something that creates a hostile work environment for a member of a protected class.  Politcs at Work

Keep in mind that the First Amendment right to “free speech” under the U.S. Constitution doesn’t prevent private-sector employers from restricting employees’ speech. Let’s take a look at what private-sector employers can and should do to regulate political communications.

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Firestorm over Google memo putting ‘diversity of thought’ in spotlight

August 20, 2017 0 COMMENTS

What was meant to be an internal memo written by a male engineer at Google hit the internet in a big way in early August, igniting controversy that led to the employee’s firing and much discussion about the effectiveness of corporate diversity efforts.  Business people looking for ideas

The now-infamous memo raises questions on many fronts. Among them: Does it make the company vulnerable to claims from women that they endure a hostile work environment? Does it expose the company to legal action from the engineer who was fired? Andin a different veindoes it raise questions about corporate culture that go beyond legal concerns and focus on a type of diversity that’s beginning to gain more attentiondiversity of thought?

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Election dynamics in the workplace: Free speech? ‘You’re fired’

December 18, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Courtney Bru

None of us were immune from this year’s presidential election dynamics. Disrespect and name-calling have seemed more prevalent than policy discussions. The election was highly polarizing, potentially pitting employee against employee.  PolticalDebate

In the midst of it all, employees were often misinformed about their “free speech rights” in the workplace. A recent instance from Georgia should serve as an example.

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Thin line between political and hate speech: What’s acceptable at work

April 17, 2016 1 COMMENTS

by Holly K. Jones, J.D.

Picture it—it’s a Friday afternoon at the end of a very long week, and just as you are about to sneak out early for the weekend, one of your employees walks into your office wearing a camouflage trucker hat emblazoned with the words “Make America Great Again.” Oh perfect, you think to yourself, another Trump supporter. And before you can stop yourself, your (irrational and unproductive) irritation gets the best of you, and you find yourself remarking sarcastically, “Nice hat. Do you hate women, too?” The employee gives you a shocked look but leaves your office after getting an answer to an unrelated question, and as he walks away, you proudly tag Hillary Clinton in a tweet about how you stood up for women’s equality.  Dont Fight

A week later, you have to give the same employee a written warning for being late for the third time in the past two weeks, but when you ask him to sign the warning, he angrily accuses you of discriminating against him because he is a Republican and a Caucasian man. And he then files a complaint against you with HR.

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What HR can do to prevent workplace violence

February 14, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Jonathan R. Mook

News reports of yet another workplace shooting have become all too frequent in our media-saturated world. The seemingly constant reports of shootings makes clear to all employers the inconvenient truth that no workplace is totally immune from the possibility that a violent incident will occur. Indeed, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than two million Americans are exposed to some form of workplace violence each year. What are your obligations to protect your employees from acts of violence, and what steps should you take to make your workplace as safe as possible?  Businessman with knife

OSH Act obligations

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Employer’s workplace violence memo violated employee rights

January 17, 2016 0 COMMENTS

A Sterling reputation tarnished

June 15, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Kylie Crawford TenBrook, Best Western International, Inc.

In April, recordings of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks to his half-black, half-Mexican girlfriend assistant* surfaced. Among those remarks were the following:

It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?DonaldSterling

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