Should political discussions be censored at work?

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Facebook, Google, and Twitter employees know it all too well: political leanings can influence professional relationships. But should ideological differences turn the workplace into a battlefield?

One in five employees believe political discussions should be tuned out at work, according to a survey by career site Indeed.

But even as US companies are entitled to certain restrictions against employees making political statements, most workplaces still foster a climate of free speech.

“And while some people feel persecuted for their beliefs, a majority do not,” Indeed said.

A closer look at the study reveals US workplaces remain open to political discussions: 67% believe groups are given the space to express their views at work.

In contrast, 23% feel political groups are being stifled. Of those who feel restrained:

  • 60% point to peers as the source of pressure.
  • 40% say corporate leadership reins in political discussions.
  • 66% feel conservatives are being silenced.
  • 34% believe liberals are being marginalized.

“Although American politics is becoming more polarized, we did find something that unites liberals and conservatives: overall, both groups feel similar levels of comfort when it comes to talking about politics,” Indeed said.

Almost half of those who identified as liberals (48%) say they feel “mostly comfortable” sharing their political views with colleagues. A similar percentage (46%) of those who claim to be conservatives feel the same way.

Despite the polarizing effect of politics in the workplace, more than half (54%) of respondents believe an employee’s political orientation does not impact career growth. However, 25% disagree.

“There’s room for debate about the place of political discussions in the workplace, but one thing is certain: in an ideal situation people should be comfortable being themselves at work while also being respectful and accommodating of their differences with one another,” Indeed said.

“If we can remember that, we can all create better environments to work together in.”

 

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