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Political Speech at Work: Manage the Politically Charged Workplace (HRM879G)

Presented by: Dr. Susan Strauss, Ed.D.
(*) Single User Price. For multiple users please call 1-800-223-8720
Pre Recorded Webinar
60 minutes
Event Description
1.0 PDC - AudioSolutionz is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM
1.0 Credit

Best Practices for Creating Political Speech Policies and Procedures for Your Organization

A new survey has found that since the 2016 presidential campaigns and election, a significantly increased percentage of employees are feeling stressed and strained because of political speech at work. Employees are feeling more cynical and negative at work due to tense political talk. Employees report that the negativity and divisiveness has caused them to be less productive, is interfering with their getting work done and is engendering anger and a negative view of their colleagues. Thirty-five percent of employers openly share their political views with employees, and 36% of employees discuss politics at work. Out of these, 23% said it led to heated discussion or an argument. Only 25% of organizations have a written policy on political activities. And 80% of employees believe it would be illegal for their employers to terminate them for engaging in political speech at work.

Along with religion, sex and money, politics is one of the most contentious topics of conversation. Do employers need to be careful of political affiliation discrimination – wait, does that even exist? What laws or regulations should employers consider in setting the tone of political discussions at work, if any? Don’t workers have freedom of speech to discuss politics as they see fit? Does freedom of speech apply in the workplace? Or, can it get employees fired?

This session by workplace consultant Dr. Susan Strauss will discuss the legal rights and responsibilities of employers and employees concerning political speech in the workplace. Some political speech runs the risk of violating Title VII and other civil rights laws. Financial challenges posed by political speech at work include the risk of discrimination. Both employers and employees need to know if it is OK to make statements such as “Bernie was too old to be president,” “Cruz wore his religion on his sleeve,” “Trump is narcissistic and crazy,” and “Hillary is a b----” about these former candidates in the workplace, or if they could be construed as discrimination? Should management and the organization stay neutral in their stance, or can they be outspoken in expressing their viewpoints? Can employees express anger and revolutionary sentiments, or should the election be approached with more measured thinking? Does it matter? Is there an ethical viewpoint on speaking about politics at work?

Employers need to be cautious regarding discussing politics in the workplace except in certain states. Political speech at work should fit into an organization’s diversity and inclusion strategy. Written political statements on clothing should be recognized in the organization’s dress code. If political speech isn’t handled well by the organization, it risks not only lawsuits, but absenteeism and turnover. Political speech should be an important element of your organization’s diversity and inclusion initiative. However, political speech at work is more complex than has been given consideration and organizations will benefit from getting a strong handle on the complexity associated with it.

Session Highlights

In this program, you will:

  • Learn workers’ rights about political speech
  • Know what the legal rights and responsibilities of the workplace/employer include with respect to political speech by the organization and management
  • Diminish bias and risk of liability regarding political speech

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the practical impact of the new SCOTUS regime
  • What every employer needs to know about the Federal Election Campaign Act
  • When can a political non-solicitation policy land an employer in legal battle?
  • Know the best practices for communicating a political activity policy to the workforce
  • Understand dress code policies for political speech and limitations under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
  • Discuss the First Amendment and its role in controlling political speech at work
  • Explore the NLRA and how the statue applies to politically charged speech
  • Interpret federal and state anti-discrimination laws and their nexus with political speech
  • Ten helpful hints in handling political speech at work
  • Identify the pros and cons of political speech at work
  • Explore the consequences for employees and for organizations when political speech occurs in the workplace
  • Explore the role social media plays in political speech and the workplace
  • Review specific laws related to political speech inside and outside the workplace that may impact a worker’s job
  • Suggested items to include in your political speech policy
  • Learn when it’s acceptable to discipline an employee for political-related behavior, including answers to questions such as:
    • What’s likely to constitute political harassment in the workplace?
    • What’s the threshold for establishing business harm on account of an employee’s political speech?

Who Should Attend

This webinar is for all industries, however, the following professionals should attend:

  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • VP of HR
  • All HR directors, managers and generalists
  • Supervisors
  • Managers
  • Director of risk management
About Our Speaker(s)

Dr. Susan Strauss | Workplace Harassment  SpeakerDr. Susan Strauss Ed.D.
Dr. Susan Strauss is a national and international speaker, trainer, consultant and a recognized expert investigator on workplace and school harassment and bullying. She conducts harassment and bullying investigations and functions as an expert witness in harassment and bullying lawsuits. Her clients are from business, ... More info

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    Event Title: Political Speech at Work: Manage the Politically Charged Workplace
    Presenter(s): Dr. Susan Strauss, Ed.D.

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