Are you dealing with a political headache?
This is an article by BEST member Bruce Ramshaw, of Ramshaw HR. www.ramshawhr.com
With just 7 days to go until the general election on 7th May, political campaigning with the associated media coverage is reaching fever pitch across the UK and many discussions are inevitably turning to politics.
But what happens when political passions spill over into the workplace? We examine how best to deal with and defuse these issues.
1. What happens if friction is reported between employees based on differing political views?
It is advisable to try and deal with this informally by suggesting that political views are not raised at work. However, if this does not resolve the issue and/or a formal complaint of harassment or bullying is made, this should be promptly investigated by initiating the grievance procedure.
2. What action can be taken if an employee is actively campaigning during their hours of work?
If an employee is neglecting their work and is choosing (for example) to distribute leaflets and/or speak to others to rally support for a political party instead of carrying out their work-related tasks, you would be entitled to take appropriate action. In most cases, you would inform the employee that activities such as distributing leaflets should not be carried out in work time and a repeat may lead to disciplinary action being taken.
3. What action can be taken if an employee is campaigning for a political party outside of their contractual hours but is seen wearing the Company uniform?
Once again, it is advisable to notify the employee of this at the first available opportunity. You should take this opportunity to explain to them that they should remove their Company uniform before participating in any political campaigning. Otherwise it could give the impression that your Company supports a political party or view. Once again, they should be advised that a repeat may lead to formal disciplinary action being taken.
Taking a sensible and balanced approach which is applied consistently across the workforce irrespective of political views will inevitably ensure that any issues are dealt with swiftly and fairly whilst minimising any disruption in the workplace.