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10/19/2016

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Politics in the Office: What is ok to talk about

pexels-photo-27869.jpgSo…. There is an election going on right now in the United States, Trump v. Clinton (in case you were not aware). One of the most outdated and antiquated rules is “never talk politics in the office”. I mean come on, most of our offices nowadays have multiple TV’s constantly playing either News or Sports! If our offices don’t have TV’s, they do have the internet. Let me tell you I cannot open any website without seeing some kind of ad or article for some candidate.

So, why am I talking about politics on my company’s blog? I watched the first presidential debate with friends. One of them complained about how they were feeling pressure from their boss to disclose who they were voting for. That got me thinking, how do you deal with a boss or coworker who is aggressive with their political views. So, I turned to my buddy Andrew Johnson, our Charlotte tech staffing branch's Resource Manager, to get some expert advice! Below is our Q&A session! Be sure to drop us a line on social and let us know your thoughts on our conversation!

Q: What should you do if your boss/supervisor is an admit supporter of a candidate you’re not?

A: Some workplaces are more attuned to the political conversation than others.  If you have a boss that supports a particular candidate that you do not and your workplace has policies or rules that prohibit political talk, you should refrain from any opinion of your own. Let your boss have his/her own opinion.

Q:  What do you do if your boss/supervisor is less than gentle about wanting you to support a candidate?

A: If your boss/supervisor is affecting your work and your space with political comments and is acting differently towards you because of your perspective political beliefs, you should immediately contact HR or your recruiting agency regarding the issue.

Q: How does someone polity avoid the question “So, who are you voting for?”

A: You respond with, “I must politely decline to answer because it is a personal decision for me”.

Q: What is the best way to stop a political discussion from getting out of hand in your workspace?

A: Someone can be a designated intermediary or the company/office can make sure that the workplace, while it can be a place of creative conversation, is still a workplace where work is being done.  Your workplace should have guidelines in place to make sure that political conversation is respectful. Conversations should not happen in the same area where work is being done or where clients/customers are present.

Q: How do you handle a coworker who will not stop asking about your political affiliation?

A: If coworkers continuously ask about your party affiliation and you have declined to answer multiple times, you should go to HR and file a complaint.  This is called harassment and it is not any person’s business what your party affiliation is.

Q: So you decided to say you support a specific candidate or party in an open forum. How do you handle comments from coworkers?

A: There are many ways to discuss politics in your off time.  Politely tell co-workers that if they would like to discuss their opinions they should d it on their own time.  Now, this goes back to previously where some workplaces are more in tune with politics and news such as working at CNN, Fox News or MSNBC.  There are a time and place for politics. With guidelines and policies in place, your workplace will be less chaotic when the topic of politics arises.

Q: In the office, should staff discuss the debates?

A:  Discussing debates in the workplace setting, is fine when the conversation remains respectful and peaceful. Politics and Presidential/Gubernatorial debates are a part of our lives and are important parts of our history.  People can have a professional conversation in relation to the debates. If the conversation turns into a yelling match, your office needs to have guidelines that reprimand employees for disrupting work.

Q: Often times current events come up during “watercooler talk”. Why can we talk about Kim Kardashians latest scandal but not about politics? Politics actually impact a person’s daily life.

A: People are very passionate about events or people that can alter the way we operate our daily lives. Politics create a passion because people are actually affected when politicians make decisions.  If the Kardashians do something scandalous, does that really have any real impact on your life?  Probably not.  I would hope not.  People have a defined sense of what they believe in and what will impact their lives. There are so many different opinions and ideas in a diversified workplace, it is easier to talk about things that are less serious and have less stake in our daily lives.

 

Kavaliro, employment firm, has offices in Tampa, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., Orlando, Fla., Washington, D.C., Jacksonville, Fla. and Petaluma, Ca. and can make sure you find the right people for any important role. We are ready and waiting to help you anytime and look forward to hearing from you. Be sure to check us out on Facebook and LinkedIn for more professional tips and tricks.

 

Kati Watson Interview conducted by Kati Watson Kavaliro Corporate Marketing Analyst

 

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