Talking Politics in the Workplace: Addressing the Elephant (or Donkey) in the Room

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Talking Politics in the Workplace: Addressing the Elephant (or Donkey) in the Room

With less than 2 months to go until 2016 General Election Day, November 8, to say that this election cycle has been more politically charged than most is an understatement at best. So what happens when political discussions begin to (or maybe they already have) sneak into the workplace? Hopefully, nothing. Ideally the discussions remain just that—a civil discourse between employees, perhaps during their lunch hour.
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4 Employer Guidelines for Election Day

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Election Day is approaching and employers should be aware of certain guidelines with regard to providing time off for employees to vote, communicating voting time policies, influencing employees' vote, and mitigating political discussions in the workplace.

 4 Employer Guidelines for Election Day

1. Check state laws before announcing your voting policy.

Each state has different laws that employers have to follow in regards to employees voting. Some states require employers to allow employees time off, paid or unpaid, to vote. Some states only require time-off if the employee doesn't have a sufficient amount of time to vote before or after working hours. Be sure to check your state's laws to ensure you are communicating a lawful policy.

The state of Ohio requires that all employers allow employees "sufficient time off to vote." The law does not specify the exact amount of voting time required, but indicates that employers that discharge or threaten employees for taking voting time leave can be fined $50-$500. Under Ohio law, employers are not required to pay employees for time missed at work due to voting (Sources: Ohio Elections Commission, Ohio.gov).
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