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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Political discrimination: when politics and the workplace meet

March 19, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Luke Draisey

It’s likely that 2016 was a year that most people won’t soon forget. It was a year marked by international turmoil, celebrity deaths, and unprecedented political disunity. We saw Great Britain’s decision to withdraw from the European Union, the genesis of the Zika virus, and the deaths of several cultural icons, including David Bowie, John Glenn, and Prince. And who can forget the 2016 presidential election?  Politcs at Work

While many Americans have celebrated the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States, for others his election is most notable for the controversy it has engendered. It should come as no surprise that the vitriol that characterized the 2016 election may crop up in the workplace, leaving employers at risk of accusations that they are fostering a hostile work environment or engaging in discrimination or retaliation.

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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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