Have your say: Should employers censor political talk in the workplace?

The current political climate in the United States is so divisive that a fifth (20 per cent) of Americans want discussions about politics censored at work, according to a new survey by job website Indeed.

The survey, which polled 2,000 U.S. employees, found 54 per cent of respondents are comfortable with the current level of sharing political beliefs at work. More than two-thirds (67 per cent) said political groups aren’t being silenced in the workplace. However, 23 per cent disagreed, noting groups were being silenced.

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Among those respondents who believe certain political groups are being censored in the workplace, 60 per cent reported the source of silencing was statements or actions from peers, while 40 per cent said it came from statements or actions from leadership. 

The survey also found differences among respondents regarding which groups are being silenced. Of those who believe silencing is taking place, 66 per cent said conservative groups are being silenced and 34 per cent said liberal groups are being silenced. Groups outside the traditional U.S. two-party system appeared here as well, with 22 per cent of respondents reporting socialist groups are being silenced and 17 per cent saying libertarians are being silenced.

When asked how comfortable they feel sharing their political beliefs at work, about half of both liberals (48 per cent) and conservatives (46 per cent) said they feel mostly comfortable. But there are significant differences across genders, with men feeling more comfortable sharing their political beliefs than women, regardless of what political party they identify with.

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Among liberals, 38 per cent of men said they’re comfortable sharing their beliefs, compared to 27 per cent of women. Among conservatives, the numbers are lower: 35 per cent of men said they’re comfortable sharing their beliefs, compared to 23 per cent of women.

The survey also found 54 per cent of respondents don’t think political beliefs have any effect on employees’ career paths or growth within the company. However, a quarter (25 per cent) disagreed, saying political beliefs have a positive or negative effect on employees’ career paths or growth within the company, while 21 per cent are unsure.

What do you think? Do politics have a place at work? And do employers have a role to play in either censoring political discussions or keeping the conversations open? Have your say in our weekly online poll here.

Last week’s poll, which considered a new study on the underlying negative effects of longer legislated maternity leaves on a woman’s career, asked whether employers are experiencing any issues since the federal government extended employment insurance parental benefits to 18 months at the end of 2017.

About half (51 per cent) of respondents aren’t sure yet, since few or no employees have taken advantage of the new leave. Just 10 per cent said the program is working well, while 39 per cent said it’s created problems in the workplace. If any employer is interested in sharing more information about the issues created by the new leave for a potential upcoming feature, please send us an email.

Read: Do longer legislated maternity leaves affect a woman’s career?