3 tips for keeping election season civil in the workplace
- Employees naturally want to talk about the latest news, especially in this politically charged presidential race. But when personal opinions turn to bullying, shouting, and even physically fighting, employers must step in and put an end to the rancor, advises XpertHR.
- Employers must be proactive about handling workplace disputes. Policies on harassment, bullying, social media, and email and computer use should be specific and strongly enforced.
- XpertHR also recommends that: 1) employers take a stand on political discourse in the workplace and communicate that position in office policies; 2) set codes of conduct and discipline employees that violate them; and 3) monitor election results to determine how they might affect employees when they return to work the next day.
XpertHR warns against vague policies that camouflage message or confuse workers. The NLRB has challenged vague policies, which it calls infringements on employees’ rights, and penalized companies. Policies should layout specific rules of conduct to avoid ambiguity.
In any case, it's been a stressful campaign for employees across the country. Managers should follow the same code of conduct outlined in the policies and instruct workers to do the same, prioritizing their efforts to lower employee stress levels. Employees need to know that they're operating in a culture of respect in which outside distractions are minimized and disagreements kept civil.