No matter how many stories and blog posts I write about not mixing politics and work, people still keep asking me whether it’s a good idea or not.
Yes, this is America, land of free speech. But folks when you go to work today you’re not protected if you spout off about the Republican convention, or any other political topic.
The First Amendment says Congress can’t pass laws curtailing speech, but taking political sides or appearing to take sides can be hazardous to your employment, even if you’re not doing it during work time. There is no free speech in the private-sector workplace.
To make matters worse many of you are not only engaging in political conversations with co-workers face to face, many of you are also increasingly using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, or blogs, e-mail and instant messaging, to get your opinions out this political season.
This from @VCUPav on Twitter today:
“Gov Christie is so fat he doesn’t follow polls, he changes them by altering planetary alignment.”
While this one is funny, if I read another how-fat-is-New-Jersey-Governor-Chris-Christie joke I’m going to scream.
And you definitely don’t want to make your co workers or managers scream.
Here’s a scenario a lawyer from Proskauer, one of the top labor law firms, sent me yesterday:
(A man returns to his office from a lunchtime rally decked out in campaign buttons supporting a candidate or political party. On the way to his desk, he enters into a heated discussion with another employee with opposing views. His boss asks the man to remove the buttons and refrain from engaging in politically-charged debates at work. He refuses, asserting his right to “free speech.” Who’s in the right?) (more…)