In this political climate it is hard not talk about the craziness that is election season. People that you work alongside and typically get along with can suddenly feel like the enemy if you discover their personal politics lean in the opposite direction from yours. Once you discover this, it is a good idea to stop for a minute and remember 3 things:
- This coworker is the exact same person he or she was an hour ago. Up until that moment you had no problem with this coworker. You were friendly in the break room, you shared antics from the weekend and you thought they were generally a good person.
- What would you accomplish by starting a discussion (or more likely an argument) over political issues? There is something to be said for keeping the peace. The best choice is to take a deep breath and move on.
- Your company might have a policy regarding discussing personal politics in the office.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Talking Politics in the Office
Author Lynze Wardle Lenio gives some suggestions about how to handle the discussion if you find yourself talking politics despite your best efforts to avoid it. The most important recommendation: Know when to walk away. Even after the election you have to work in this environment, if a discussion is getting heated the quickest way to end it is to walk away.
Political Apprentice At Work? You’re Fired! A Guide To Surviving The Election Season At The Workplace
It is entirely possible for your company to have a policy that covers talking about personal politics in the office. But, just like their employees, companies need to be careful how they are worded. Here, the law firm Fisher and Phillips lays out four regulations that your company must navigate when creating personal politics policies:
- The First Amendment
- The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
- Federal Antidiscrimination Laws
- State Laws
Can Your Employer Forbid You From Talking Politics at Work?
If you do work in an impassioned political environment it’s important to know your rights. Do you know if your employer can pressure you to vote for or donate to a particular candidate? Based on Federal Law they cannot. Or if they can discriminate against you because of your political beliefs or your political activities outside of work? Only a few states have laws against this, if this is something you are running into the National Labor Relations Board is who you would bring your complaints to.
What do you do if you are feeling any kind of pressure? Author Alison Green offers up some tips on how to navigate these tumultuous waters. Here are a couple that we thought were most helpful.
- If your you believe your state laws are being violated your first stop should be the office of the state attorney general
- If you are experiencing intimidation regarding voting you will ought to seek out federal or state civil authorities
At the end of the day we are all entitled to our political beliefs and in the work place they should not be held against us. This is very divisive political season we are in so it’s more important than ever we remember our coworkers are typically people we respect. If you can leave your politics at the door it’s probably one of the best decisions you can make each day.