It’s election time again…what do you need to know about political campaigning in the workplace?
- Date: Monday 24th April 2017
- PDF: Download
As the Country prepares to go to the ballot box on 08 June, employees across the land will be discussing the campaign and party policies.
But can an employer prevent political campaigning in the workplace?
The answer is yes, employers are entitled to prevent staff from political campaigning while at work where there is a fear of disruption or a risk of upset to customers or colleagues. Employers can ban campaigning during working hours and disciplinary action may be taken where an employee is found to be undertaking non-work activities when they should be working such as political campaigning.
A consistent approach towards all parties and all employees is key.
A ban on politics at work is not feasible and discussion amongst colleagues about the news and current affairs is often healthy and constructive.
Outside work employees are free to express their political views.
However, if an employee’s actions outside of work have an impact on their employment such as bringing the company name into disrepute then an employer can take action.
Employers can prevent political symbols being displayed at work
Generally, employers can enforce appropriate standards of dress in the workplace, including prohibiting items displaying support for a political party.
Guidelines on this could be set out in a dress code policy, or a policy on political activities in the workplace. This is particularly important for staff in public-facing roles as organisations will want to avoid creating an impression that they endorse a particular party or political view.
Be aware of politically motivated harassment
Be alert to the risk of employees harassing colleagues through their political beliefs.
Should any issues arise follow the grievance procedure and take the appropriate disciplinary action against the perpetrator.
Consider a Political Activity Policy
If you have reason for concern about these issues within your workplace you may want to consider the implementation of a Political Activity Policy which will address the issues raised above and state the rules of expected conduct from employees both in the run up to 8th June and beyond.