WARNING: Here’s what every company needs to know about combining Leadership and Politics

Here’s what every company needs to know about combining Leadership and Politics


Jordan gets handed a paycheck every Friday. This week’s paycheck, in late October, should be like all the others, but the envelope was heavier than normal. With great anticipation, Jordan tears open the envelope, and then his emotions quickly change to anger as political propaganda was stuffed inside from the family-owned business. The owner has always been very “loud” about their political views which are very different from Jordan’s. To top it off, the company is not granting the hourly employees’ permission to leave on election day and Jordan has been working too many hours to do early voting. Jordan considers complaining to HR only to see that the HR Manager is wearing a political button in the same vein as the Owner.  Is this ok? Is this legal? How will this impact how Jordan feels about staying with this company long-term?

As Election Day nears, it is important for employers to be aware of their legal obligations relating to their employees’ right to vote. While some states have no laws, other states actually require employers to pay their employees for time they need to vote, give them voting notices and prohibit forms of discrimination. There can be major penalties employers face for violating those laws. How should Leaders and HR professionals navigate such workplace situations and keep them from becoming toxic?

Here are 5 top things to consider:

  • Know the laws of each State in which your company operates.
  • Consider keeping political programs off any community televisions in the office, including those in the break room.
  • Leaders should steer conversations in meetings away from politics or keep the discussion to the more generic aspects of an issue.
  • Limit or ban visual displays in the office, such as campaign buttons, bumper stickers and posters.
  • Grant equal rights to voting and comply with state laws such as are employees entitled to time off to vote, paid or unpaid and strict rules on no retaliation for such time off.

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