While there are numerous types of discrimination, political discrimination is often overlooked. However, it could be hurting your business without you realizing it. Sadly, this form of discrimination isn’t covered under most anti-discrimination laws, making it harder to deal with. Recognizing and stopping it helps create a happier, more diverse workplace that’s not fueled by politics.
1. Employees Seem Tense Around Elections
Take a look at your employees’ behavior around elections. Do normally happy employees seem suddenly tense and quiet? Do team members have a hard time getting along? This could mean political discrimination is creating divides among your employees. Some may be afraid to say anything for fear of losing their jobs or starting a fight.
This tension can continue for months after an election. If your employees can’t get along, they’re not going to be as productive. They’re even less productive if they’re afraid mentioning their views can cost them their jobs.
2. Great Employees Are Fired With No Real Reason
As horrible as it might seem, it’s not unheard of for great employees to be fired over their political affiliations. Managers and even business owners get so caught up in politics that they believe anyone who doesn’t agree with them isn’t capable of doing the job. Even employees who refuse to say anything are targeted.
If you notice some of your best employees disappearing, talk to other employees to see what’s going on. Also, set up an ethics hotline for employees to report issues like this.
3. Politics Are Included In Interviews
Politics should be kept private, especially at work. After all, everyone won’t agree and never will. However, some companies include political questions in interviews. This is to help limit specific affiliations and beliefs to create a more biased work environment.
While you might not have approved these questions as a business owner, HR or other hiring managers might include it for their own personal reasons. These types of questions can cost your business highly skilled employees who are passed over for nothing more than their political beliefs.
4. Odd Promotions
Political discrimination definitely isn’t the only reason the wrong people are promoted. But, it can also be a reason. Perhaps someone has mentioned they have more right or left leanings in casual conversation. While they might have been the perfect candidate for the promotion, someone with far less experience and qualifications is promoted instead. Why? The less experienced candidate leans the way as the hiring manager.
Stopping Political Discrimination
There are several ways to help stop political discrimination in the workplace. First, make it part of your ethics policy to avoid discussing politics at work. This prevents heated discussions, helps reduce tension and keeps political beliefs more private. Second, train employees to recognize signs of political discrimination.
Finally, set up an ethics hotline and encourage employees to report any suspected discrimination issues, including political. Whether they’re being bullied or threatened to vote a certain way or being harassed for their political beliefs, it should be reported. This protects employees and your business.