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Small business owners are divided on how to reprimand employees who express controversial ideas in the workplace

by Ray Hayes

In today’s work environment, employees are being scrutinized more and more for their political views. The Trump era has ushered in a new normalcy of controversial expression and an extension of freedom of speech that can sometimes be offensive.  With a sense of speech freedom being everyone’s calling card now, the question of how small business owners handle workplace situations comes into play. According to a recent survey from BizBuySell.com, more than 42 percent of small business owners would reprimand employees who exercised their freedom of speech in the workplace.

With such controversies taking place, like the NFL protests, America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has released a set of rules to help a divided nation handle business related issues.

  1. Set rules on what sorts of activities — politically motivated — are permitted on the job site. Make it a policy, let all employees know about it, and enforce it evenly, according to SBDC.
  2. Never ask an employee what his or her political affiliation is. Also, it’s illegal to fire or even threaten to fire, demote or punish employees who vote in opposition to your political leanings.
  3. Political discussions should be confined to certain areas of your business. Those areas should not include anywhere designated for getting work done.


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