How Can I Stop Employees From Talking About Politics?

Dear Evil Skippy:

A few of the employees who report to me are seriously into politics.  Before I have to resort to corrective action and discipline, can you give me some ideas for getting them to tone down the talk about politics when they are at work?

—  Supervisor

Dear Supervisor:

Add “Discuss politics” to their job descriptions.  Nothing kills some employees’ desire to do something as effectively as making the task required.  Tasers work pretty well, too.

—  Evil Skippy

One of my favorite supervisors – meaning that he kept me entertained even though I suspect he was slightly insane – had another method that you might enjoy.  He kept a referee’s whistle handy.  Whenever employees started talking about the latest primary, he blew the whistle and threw a red penalty flag.  After a few whistle blasts, people learned to avoid political discussions during work hours.

You must already know the best method in your arsenal.  If you don’t, think about turning in your Supervisor Card.  Tell these employees clearly and directly to stop talking about politics when they are supposed to be working.  You don’t need to make a big deal out of it.   Apply the same standard to any other topic that interferes with work, unless they are talking about Evil Skippy.  I need more traction, so let them talk about ES.

Readers — how would you put an end to an unwanted political discussion at work?

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  1. Tim says

    As I supervisor, I handle discussion about politics the same way I handle conversations about ‘March Madness”. I walk up, interrupt the conversation, and ask what specifically the conversation has to do with the work at hand. If anyone objects, I tell them to hold their discussion on their time, not mine or the companies. If they persist in their “social time” on company time, I then introduce them to the next step in the disciplinary process. Being a union shop, the contract has very specific steps to follow, to which I carefully adhere.

  2. Josie says

    When I was working we all worked out of the same office space and at times all the computers were on “The Drudge Report” and/or other Hate Obama sites. I hated listening to the political garbage and expressed myself to my Supervisor who told me to find another place to work if I didn’t like it there!
    Of course, he was leading the pack with his political views and was what I refer as A Bully Boss. When they weren’t talking politics, it was guns, sports, hunting, sex and drinking.
    First, it has to be an ongoing and time consuming discussion to merit a reminder to get back to work. Secondly, if someone complains about it , consider how far it has gone and how disruptive it has become. Next, please do something about it if needed and get to your computer as soon as possible to see what Evil Skippy says on how you handled it!
    And by all means…if you aren’t even registered to Vote…shut up!

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