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October 20, 2008
HR: Employees Much More Outspoken on Politics

More than 40 percent of HR professionals say that employees are expressing their political views much more this presidential election year than they did during the previous one in 2004, according to a recent survey on HR.BLR.com and Compensation.BLR.com.

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The combined results of the survey show that 43 percent of respondents said that employees are much more outspoken on politics this year compared with 4 years ago. Twenty-two percent said employees are slightly more outspoken during this election.

Thirty percent of respondents said they've witnessed about the same amount of political discussion this year as they saw four years ago.

Meanwhile, about 5 percent of respondents said there was actually less political discussion in the workplace this year.

Can employers limit political discussions in the workplace? As explained in HR.BLR.com's legal analysis, while employees have the right to express opinions on political issues, employers have the right to control employee work time--and employers are entitled to prohibit employees from engaging in political activity during work hours.

"Of course, there is no way to stop political discussions," the analysis states. "However, business necessity dictates that activities interfering with work performance can be stopped, and distracting political slogans can be restricted, perhaps to those that can be contained on a lapel button."

The survey included 227 respondents.

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