Politics in the Workplace

Discussing Politics In The Workplace.Anecdote

If you have ever been asked by a job interviewer, your boss, or coworker, about who you are voting for, you are not alone. In interviewing for a deli associate job, I was asked who I voted for in the 2016 election. I was barely surprised to hear the question, considering how controversial the election was. I knew better than to give an answer favoring one candidate, so I stated that I did not vote, to the interviewer’s dismay.

Implications

National politics has become entrenched in daily life, but unless you work or are applying to an organization concerned with politics, do not let your confidence in the candidate get the better of you. The person asking about what you think about a candidate may hold the opposite view or voted for the opposing candidate, in which case it is better not to share your opinions on a sensitive subject. People feel strongly about the 2020 election, and revealing information can compromise your interview, or your status/position in the workplace. Telling a coworker, who may be a friend, can be consequential; the information can circulate. An opportunity like a promotion can be jeopardized. Favoring a certain candidate could imply favoring their policy views, which may be detrimental to a certain organization/business.

The Law May Not Protect You

The employer-employee relationship is “at-will”, meaning you can be terminated for any reason (if it is not illegal), at any time, or for no reason at all. The employee may also leave at any time for any reason, or no reason. “Federal law does not protect private employees from discrimination based on their politics.”[1] When confronted with a question concerning political views, do not get too comfortable – it is within your right to kindly decline to answer.


[1] Guerin, Lisa. “Can Employers Discriminate Based on Political Beliefs or Affiliation?” Www.nolo.com, 2020 MH Sub I, LLC Dba Nolo , 27 Apr. 2018, www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-employers-discriminate-based-on-political-beliefs-or-affiliation.html.

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