When the over-the-top rhetoric and mudslinging of political battles invade the workplace, employers beware. The distraction alone can be bad for business, and racial, ethnic, religious, age and gender-based tensions are often intertwined with political views. Trying to keep a lid on confrontational speech and campaigning behavior, however, is not easy and can raise numerous legal issues. Outcomes can vary, depending on such factors as whether a workplace is in the public or private-sector, religious or secular, union or nonunion or an academic institution. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and understanding which laws govern in a specific employer’s situation is very important, here are a few things for most employers to keep in mind:
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