OF A POLITICS POLICY
If you do create a policy about
politics, what should it say? These
questions will help you decide.
Should employees be allowed
to collect petition signatures
or promote a candidate or issue
in the workplace?
No. Your policy should ban employees from promoting a candidate or
cause on company time, or using
company resources, says Jaime
Lizotte, HR solutions manager of
compliance specialist ComplyRight:
“It’s the employer’s responsibility
to keep the workplace safe from
hostility.” T-shirts are simply unprofessional. Pens and cofee mugs?
Where is the line between
opinion and harassment?
Tough call. “Employers can limit
conversation viewed as divisive or
harassing while workers are on
the clock,” says Evan J. White,
co-founding partner at White Harris,
which specializes in management-side employment law. But it’s easy
to trip over legally protected discussion, such as employees talking
about how to improve workplace
conditions. “If an employee says,
‘We’d be better paid if our boss was
white and not an immigrant,’ it’s
really easy to fnd yourself in those
cross hairs,” says White.
When would you discipline or
fre an employee over politics?
Paul English of Lola says that if
someone were to publicly post
racist comments, “as soon as that
became a topic of discussion at
work, it would be a fring ofense
because they’re making work a
Illustration by EDUARDO LUZZATTI
UP FROM 13 PERCENT, have a more negative view of their co-workers because of their
politics and say they feel more isolated at
work. Seventeen percent, up from 13 percent,
say team cohesiveness has sufered.
felt tense or stressed
because of workplace
up from 17 percent.
•31 had witnessed political arguments at work, up from
26 percent previously. Fifteen
percent had gotten into arguments
themselves, up from 11 percent.
another person’s beliefs,” says
co-founder and CEO Ryan McCoy.
It was an efective intervention,
McCoy says. “We had an open
dialogue, and the result was that
he apologized and we haven’t had
that discussion since.”
PUT CULTURE FIRST
Creating a culture of respect
and openness is the best way
to keep political diferences in
check. This is why Hartsock felt
she needed to intervene in
her company’s abortion debate.
“If people don’t feel connected to
one another and that they are
a community, no matter how
well you’re making money, it will
eventually collapse,” she says.
“Because culture is what keeps
your company together.”
Genevieve Thiers, who
co-founded the babysitting mar-
ketplace Sittercity, invites people
at her new (and political) venture
NewFounders to “Dumb
Debates” in which opponents
argue two sides of an issue while
doing things like playing Twister
or eating hot sauce. Once,
when visiting the ad agency
Brandless, she and a friend
decided to shake things up. He
grabbed her Hillary Clinton doll,
she donned his “Make America
Great Again” baseball cap, and
the two marched through the
company ofces arm in arm to
throw people of. “The point is,
we need to talk,” she says.