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Managing Political Activities in the Workplace

With the election a few days away, you may find that you have employees who would like to demonstrate their allegiance to particular political parties or actively campaign for a chosen party. These activities can be problematical for employers. Park City have produced this brief guide for employers to demonstrate how you can manage political activities in your own workplace in the run up to the general election on 6th May.

Make it clear to your employees what is acceptable:

You should make your employees aware of what behaviour is acceptable and conversely, what behaviour will not be tolerated. You should communicate to your employees that, if their behaviour disrupts their work or infringes on other employees’ working activities, then they may be disciplined by line managers. As an employer you should always remember that, if an employee’s activities affect other employees from doing their work, you are well within your rights to stop those activities.

You could ban electioneering in the workplace:

If you believe that electioneering (such as the distributing of political leaflets or the promoting of candidates) is disruptive, then you are within your rights to take action to prevent the disruption and to stop the detrimental effect this may have on the company.

Use your HR Department:

In order to prevent your employees from being able to claim discrimination under the Human Rights Act and to demonstrate that you are treating all your employees in the same way, you should give all employees the chance to
contact your HR department with any concerns that they may have about your decisions regarding political activities in the workplace. You should also clearly communicate your clear expectations of what is and what is not acceptable in the workplace.

Extremist views in the workplace:

If you have someone in your organisation who overtly displays extremist or racist views or whose behaviour intimidates or harasses other employees, then you are entitled to take action to prevent this from continuing. Racist and extremist views can have negative affects on other employees and also damage the reputation of your company.

The key is to have very clear policies with regards to what is acceptable in terms of political activities in the workplace and to deal with individual incidents as and when they occur. As an employer you are responsible for the welfare of all your employees and as such, you must stay aware and alert to recognise any activities that may be taking place in your place of work.

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