The presidential primaries are heating up and so may the political discourse around the water cooler. Talking over the most recent debate can quickly turn to heated political and social issues. Conversation can then get heated, so what is an employer to do to make sure the workplace stays civil.
First and foremost and as much as you may be tempted, an outright ban on political conversation can be quite precarious. Certain topics such as wages, workplace benefits and working conditions could be covered as protected by the National Labor Relations Act. A discussion of the Affordable Care Act, regardless of your stance, could be construed as a discussion of workplace benefits and is, therefore, protected.
But the Affordable Care Act could be the most harmless example of debatable topics. Immigration and same-sex marriage can spark not only passionate discussion, it can also spark claims of harassment and discrimination. This is where employers are best served to remind its employees of the Discrimination & Harassment policies which your organization has in place. Remind your employees and your managers to encourage a culture of acceptance and civility…simply keep an open-mind.