Finance News & Insights

Keeping office politics in check

Good luck finding someone who doesn’t have an opinion on this year’s presidential election. But how can you keep political chatter from becoming too heated or landing your company in legal hot water?

You can certainly keep employees from actively stumping for a given candidate — 40% of companies prohibit their people from handing out political literature in the workplace. But that heated discussion between James and Marissa by the coffee pot can be a lot trickier to regulate.

Given the specifics of this election, it’s a slippery slope. And when people start getting emotional about race, religion or gender, your company could end up at risk for a discrimination claim.

To minimize that while still letting people speak their mind about this seemingly ubiquitous subject:

  • Encourage managers to abstain. It’s one thing when peers get into it over Obama vs. McCain. It’s another when a supervisor offers his or her opinion in the mix. You might ask managers to refrain from including their two cents in these discussions.
  • Offer the company’s perspective. Clearly, there are some candidates that may be better for your organization or industry than others. That doesn’t mean employees with all views aren’t welcome. But explaining why one outcome would be better for the company as a whole offers some additional perspective and keeps it from getting personal.
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