Managing Political Conflict Between Employees
4 Minute Read
4 Minute Read

Rather than write about the swathe of labour changes that are impending (frankly it’s going to take some time, given the party seem entirely set on changing what feels like the entirety of the employment law regime). Slight exaggeration, but thanks Starmer and co, looking forward to spending the rest of this year getting to grip with even more changes…. Not like 2024 hasn’t already been the year of employment law change!

Anyway, whilst that thesis is in the works, we turn our attention to political discussions at work and how to manage conflict in the run up to the general election.

Why Do Political Debates Cause Conflict at Work?

Politics is a subject people can feel extreme passion for. Everyone knows that one colleague who has immovable views, no one else could ever possibly be right, and they take any contrary view extremely personally.

Political discussion and difference of opinion can very easily descend into playground insults, with words such as ‘stupid’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘uninformed’ flying around. It is easily done especially when the press and even on occasion politicians will refer to each other in less than polite terms.

Ultimately employees are all entitled to their own opinion and are likely to cite ‘free speech’ if you tell them to give it a rest from the campaign trail. There is however a difference between citing political opinion and being derogatory towards other employees.

How to Deal with Political Conflict Between Employees?

Employees who do cross the line and fling insults or use derogatory terms can be dealt with under disciplinary procedures, though as a first step we would be suggesting in an informal discussion asking them to modify their behaviour and that:

  • Everyone is entitled to an opinion.
  • Opinions should be voiced in a respectful way
  • It is unacceptable to be abusive and seek to hide behind opinion
  • Question whether work really is the best place to be exchanging political views
  • A reminder that whilst they can voice opinions in a respectful way, they cannot require everyone to agree with them

Failure to adhere to the informal guidance, could then result in disciplinary proceedings if they behaviour continues to fall below the acceptable standard.

Are You Ready to Be Your Workplace Hroe?

Handling political discussions at work can be challenging. Need help creating a respectful workplace? Contact us today for expert guidance on establishing clear policies, providing effective training, and managing conflicts from our top-level accredited CIPD advisors.