Social Media Employment Law

Politics In The Workplace – 27 Days To The Election

I recently had an opportunity to film a live webcast to address some key issues relevant to the following questions:   What happens when political discussion and activity infiltrates your company’s workplace?    What can employers do to regulate political discussion and activity in the name of maintaining employee morale and minimizing loss of productivity?    With only 27 days to go until a historical election for our country, these issues are of paramount importance since they are currently impacting employer-employee relations.  

And social media has played a big part here too, as employees have greater access to information and a larger forum in which to debate and engage in political expression.    So CLICK HERE if you would like to watch the webcast for yourself.    The webcast consists of three 30-minute parts.   The first part is where I discuss the issues of politics in the workplace, including the impact of social media on these issues (and you can also download a PDF version of some PowerPoint slides for this portion of the presentation).  

The second part is presented by my colleague Ken Fisher, who discusses some do’s and don’ts when it comes to corporate participation in lobbying efforts and political action committees.   And finally, the third part is an interesting back-and-forth discussion between two other firm colleagues, Mark Alderman and Steve Miller, who discuss the impact of next month’s election on the Supreme Court and Congress.

Employer Take Away:   What should you as an employer take away from this development?   

The biggest issues in the workplace tend to be those issues that are discussed in the workplace at the moment.   And in this big election year, politics and all things related are what your employees are talking about.   Not just about whether we’ll have a 45th POTUS, or whether number 44 remains in power, but about emotional, social issues that are intertwined with political platforms, such as religion and same-sex marriage.

I’ve said it before here, and I’ll continue to say it:  Employers are not always prohibited from making employment-related decisions based on the right to control their workplace.    But, they should be cautious about making trigger-happy decisions without at least considering the issues and potential ramifications involved with those decisions.  This year’s intensified political climate is no different.

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