Free Speech at Work – Should Discussions of Politics be Banned
70% of Americans would support companywide policies that limit the discussion of politics in the workplace or with colleagues. Harris
Free speech and context:
Political speech seems natural when your organization connects deeply to an issue and awkward otherwise.
Abortion is relevant when you work for Planned Parenthood or the National Right to Life. But if you’re a construction company in Louisiana, what’s the point?
If you work for a gun manufacturer, discussing gun regulation is fair game. But if your company makes baby food, advocating for gun rights – as an organization – seems distracting.
Discussing taxes is universally relevant.
Issues and organizations:
Discussing voting laws in Georgia when your organizational footprint is in the Northeast is an unnecessary distraction.
It’s true that some customers might not do business with you if you don’t have a position on important topics, but most just want you to deliver a quality product at a competitive price.
Drive a stake in the ground for yourself. Chic-fil-A doesn’t open on Sunday. They aren’t protesting when other companies open on Sunday.
Free speech at work:
All companies already limit speech. You can’t swear at customers, for example.
Expect people to act like adults. That means respect difference. But respect may not include liking. You might not like the right to bear arms, but it’s legal within limits.
The world grows violent when people hate each other because of difference.
Just because you can doesn’t mean it’s wise.
Everyone is intolerant. The issue is where you draw the line. People who brag about tolerance can’t tolerate intolerance. Beware the inconsistency of a “tolerant” person forcing others into conformity.
Do your best to live in harmony with everyone.
Organizations have the right to limit speech that violates values.
Perhaps guidelines for sexual harassments have some application to political speech?
What suggestions do you have regarding political speech at work?