Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 2 - 12

workplace chatter: by Dana Chang

Protected Speech
Political table talk is making employers sick.

W

>> Employers find that political discussions adversely affect productivity, work relationships and customers' dining experiences.

Whether your preferred candidate won or lost, the universal
sentiment is relief that the campaigning and mudslinging is over.
Although the presidential election may be behind us, the wide
array of controversial, political topics, including race relations,
immigration, women's rights and LGBT rights, are still front and
center. These critical issues for the American public are often
part of dinner table conversations - and workplace chatter.

12

food & drink international * winter 2016 volume 2 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com

For those who work in the hospitality
industry, this can create an uncomfortable atmosphere. While politics
is always a thorny topic, it is exacerbated by the ubiquitous national
conversation immediately following
a presidential election.
With guests and customers eager
to converse, it is not unlikely that political issues will become the topic of
conversation. Yes, political discourse
can be constructive, but, frequently,
it is divisive.
Employers often find that political discussions adversely affect
productivity, work relationships and
customers' dining experiences. For
restaurants, hotels and resorts, where
convivial conversation is important,
the possibility that political discussions can evolve into bitter quarreling
is problematic.
Many people have strong views on
political topics such as religion, gender equality and LGBT rights and are
personally affected by these issues.
Employers and their HR departments
should be cognizant of the possibility that employees' conversations on
these polarizing topics, which are
also closely intertwined with protected classes under civil rights laws, can
elicit emotional reactions from employees and customers alike.
Employees' statements on these
topics may be considered the companies' views or positions and may
manifest into complaints against the
company. For this reason, it's in the
best interest of the company and its
employees to find ways to minimize
political discussions at the workplace.


http://www.fooddrink-magazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 2

Contents
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Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 2 - Cover3
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