Employers Must Address Workplace Political Discussions Now
Lonnie Giamela, a partner the Los Angeles and Irvine offices, offered advice to employers on preparing for the upcoming presidential election in the Bloomberg BNA Bulletin to Management article "Employers Must Address Workplace Political Discussions Now." Lonnie recommended that employers hold a management meeting or send out communications to employees and managers detailing workplace political discussion policies as soon as mid- or late October. He noted that employers must look at workplace political discussion policies in terms of how political speech could be seen as racial, sex/gender, or religious harassment. Managers should be completely prohibited from joining in on political discussions, working or soliciting for political campaigns, or criticizing political affiliations. Lonnie said that workplace political policies should also include information on states' voting right laws. Many states have rules that permit employees paid time off to get to a voting booth if they cannot find the time to vote due to their scheduled work shift. "Employers, both from a legal and a human relations standpoint, should do everything [they can to avoid] an undue hardship to allow employees to go exercise their right to vote."