Keep Politics From Dividing the Workplace

Posted 11/7/16
There’s an old saying, “never discuss religion or politics in polite company.” But that phrase has gone by the wayside in this era of social media. There are political posts for each candidate from every party including Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. The political banter online sometimes makes its way into the workplace and in some cases cause trouble along the way.

A poll by the Society for Human Resource Management recently found more than half of employers have had more political volatility in the workplace during the 2016 presidential campaign than in prior elections. Just like in Washington, democrats and republicans in the workplace are going toe to toe with co-workers who have opposing political views.

With new revelations coming out almost daily now, those workplace sparring matches are expected to heat up. It’s even thought that after November 8, both sides will continue to debate the outcome of the election. The supporters of the losing candidate may feel slighted, while the winning side gloats over the victory.

If problems persist in the office space, it’s not too late to keep the peace. If you don’t already have a policy for politics in place, develop one now. But keep in mind there are states that allow political expression in the workplace. Those states include New York and California.

Some tips to avoid problems in the workplace; if asked about your choice of candidate, reply “I’d rather not say.” Avoid political banter in the office. Save it for before work, after work or during lunch. If the debating gets too intense, walk away. Be respectful and remember you’re not going to always agree with someone’s politics or religion, but there’s no reason to be unkind about those differences.

Kevin Hunsperger was born in Missouri in 1973.  He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and immediately began his journalist career in Florence, AL at WOWL.  Kevin is currently a morning anchor and reporter at WSIL-TV in Carterville, IL.  Kevin is a blog-author, podcast host and keynote speaker.  He donates his time and talent to organizations that are important to him as the co-chairman of the Southern Illinois Men’s Conference, Hospice of Southern Illinois, and The Boy Scouts of America.

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