Following one of the most divisive elections in history, emotions are running high and run the gamut from exhilarated to despondent — naturally, this can make for a pretty contentious workplace.
As Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, an etiquette and civility expert and the author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom,” points out, “We are in charge of how we respond, behave, our attitude, and how we treat others.”
To help keep everything civil at work as we move forward from this election, she shares some simple but important dos and don’ts:
Do say something neutral and positive if a gloater makes wisecracks. Or smile and walk away.
Don’t mope around. The job still has to get done. Besides, it will show your boss that you can’t handle defeat.
Don’t prance around tossing daisies; restrict your victory dance for after-hours.
Don’t post outrageous comments on social media; keep it professional.
Don’t take company time to be on the phone or computer all day talking about the election results.
Do maintain a professional tone if you do discuss the election results at work.
Don’t rant and threaten to quit and move out of the country. Leave that to the celebrities.
Ultimately, it’s important to keep your career in mind. Don’t sabotage it with a few ill-chosen words or actions.
As an employee expressing yourself at work, you have fewer protections than you’d think — and if your boss doesn’t like what they hear, you could get fired for it.
Your company may have rules prohibiting political paraphernalia or using social media to express your political beliefs, so it’s always a good idea to get acquainted with your employee handbook.
And unless you signed some sort of contract that says otherwise, it’s likely you’re an at-will employee. This means that your job can be terminated without having to establish just cause.
Labour laws exist in this country to protect people against adverse employment actions due to discrimination, but very few laws exist that truly protect private-sector employees from getting fired for expressing their political affiliation. A handful of states, such as New York and California, have laws that offer protections for political affiliation, but even some of those are fairly limited.
What’s more, talking heatedly about politics at work could be construed as creating a hostile work environment, and people could file a harassment complaint against you for that.
At the end of the day, if all your politics talk could be construed as interfering with your productivity, that could be just cause for termination and should be avoided.
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