War at the water cooler: Can talking politics at work hurt your career?
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War at the water cooler: Can talking politics at work hurt your career?

September 15, 2019


SOLEDAD: THEY SAY DON’T TALK
POLITICS AT THE OFFICE. ALL WE DO IS TALK POLITICS HERE. COMPANIES, INCLUDING GOOGLE
>>CRACKING COUNTY ON FRILL
SPEECH AT WORK. GOOGLE’S CEO RECENTLY SENT A
MEMO TO EMPLOYEES SAYING SHARING
IDEAS WITH EMPLOYEES HELPS BUILD
COMMUNITY BUT TALKING ABOUT
POLITICS DOES NOT. 65% OF EMPLOYEES WERE OK WITH
TALKING POLITICS. 25% WERE UNDECIDED SO WHAT IS
LIMITS? IS THERE A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT
TONYA CYCLONES IS AN ETHICS
LAWYER. SO NICE TO HAVE YOU.>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME. SOLEDAD: WHAT IS SPEECH WHEN
WE’RE TALKING ABOUT FREE SPEECH?>>DWESH WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE
CONTEXT OF WHERE WE ARE. IN TERMS OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT,
THIS THERE IS THIS FREEDOM OF
SPEECH, WHICH BASICALLY TELL US
THAT THE GOVERNMENT WON’T TRY TO
SHAPE A PERSON’S SPEECH BUT IT
COULD BE DIFFERENT UNDER EMPLOYMENT. FREE SPEECH INCLUDES EXPRESSION
OF POLITICAL IDEAS, POLITICAL
VIEWS, BUT IT COULD BE LIMITED
IN CERTAINLY PRIVATE
ORGANIZATIONS. SURF SO IF YOU WORK FOR THE
GOVERNMENT IN A PUBLIC CAPACITY,
DOES THAT MEAN YOU’RE PROTECTED
AND YOUR FREE SPEECH RIGHTS ARE
PROTECTED MORE THAN SAY, YOU
WORK FOR A PRIVATE COMPANY?>>IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF
GOVERNMENT, THIS IS THE HATCH
ACT, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT SPEECH,
GENERALLY, YES, GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES HAVE A RIGHT TO FREE
SPEECH BUT IF THEY WORK FOR THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, THEY ARE
PREDICTED FROM ENGAGING IN
CERTAIN POLITICAL ACTIVITIES. SOLEDAD: WHICH IS WHY KELLYANNE
CALLED OUT FOR HER VIOLATIONS OF
THE HATCHELL ACT. MOST PEOPLE WORK FOR PRIVATE
EXEAVENS. SO DOES THAT MEAN THEY’RE NOT
PREDICTED — PROTECTED IF THEIR
EMPLOYER SAYS, YOU DEMEED TO GO
OR SAY THIS OR TAKE DOWN THAT
POSTER OF THE CANDIDATE THAT YOU
SUPPORT. THEY HAVE TO DO IT?>>IT’S INTERESTING. FREE SPEECH COVERS ALL, BUT THE
KEY IS EMPLOYEES OFTEN ACCEPT
CERTAIN TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT AND
SOME OF THOSE TERMS COULD
INCLUDE AGREEING TO LIMIT YOUR
SPEECH. OFTENTIMES WHEN EMPLOYEES GO
INTO A NEW ORGANIZATION, THEY
WILL SIGN POLICIES WITHOUT FULLY
UNDERSTANDING WHAT THEY MEAN. SOLEDAD: IN 2004, LYNN GOLF WAS
FIRED. SHE HAD A CARRIE EDWARDS —
KERRY EDWARDS’ STICKER ON HER
CAR. HER EMPLOYER WAS A BUSH FRAN AND
SHE LOST HER JOB.>>AGAIN, IT’S ABOUT WHAT THE
EMPLOYER HAS AGREED TO. WHEN AN EMPLOYEE TAKES A JOB,
THEY’RE IN THERE FOR A SPECIFIC
GOAL FOR THE ORGANIZATION. SOLEDAD: YES, BUT, HERE’S MY
PUSHBACK ON THAT. I GET THE SENSE THAT IF THE
WOMAN HAD A BUSH STICKER ON HER
CAR AND HER BOSS WAS A BUSH FAN,
THAT SHE WAS NOT JUST A
DISTRACTION WITH A POLITICAL
STICKER. IT WAS THAT THE POLITICAL
STICKER DIDN’T MATCH HER BOSS’S
POLITICAL LEANINGS AND THAT’S
WHY SHE WAS FIRED.>>AT THE END OF THE DALE IT’S
REALLY ABOUT THE POLITICAL
ENVIRONMENT AND ABOUT THE
SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENT OF THAT
PARTICULAR ORGANIZATION SO
WHETHER IT’S ONE POLITICAL OFFICIAL OR ANOTHER BEING TALKED
ABOUT, IT’S A MATTER OF HOW IT
IMPACT THAT IS PLACE OF
EMPLOYMENT. SURF AS A LAWYER, DO YOU GUST
JUST TELL PEOPLE SHOOSH! DON’T TALK ABOUT POLITICS. EVEN THOUGH POLLS SHOWED THAT
PEOPLE ARE OVERWHELMING OK WITH
HAVING THOSE POLITICAL
CONVERSATIONS.>>I HAVE TO ADMIT, ESPECIALLY
AS A LAWYER, I DO ADVISE PEOPLE
TO MINIMIZE THEIR CONVERSATIONS
ABOUT CONTROVERSIAL COP —
THERE HAS TO BE A LOT OF
RECONCILIATION THAT TAKES PLACE IN THE WORKPLACE. PEOPLE NEED TO RELATE TO ONE’RE
ONGOING BASIS REGARDLESS OF HOW
THAT’S EASIER IF YOU FOCUS MORE
ON COMMON GROUND SO I WOULD SAY
THAT’S AN ABSOLUTE BEST
PRACTICE. JUST MINIMIZE. SOLEDAD: LAWYERS NEVER GIVE YOU
THE ADVICE RUN IN AND LEAD WITH
CONTROVERSY.

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