Do I Have to Keep Employees Who are Racist?

A Kantola Learning Minute


An employer says, "I've got some employees that I just know are going to show up on the news, video taped carrying signs and yelling slogans, that are going to upset some of their co-workers. What should I be prepared to do when that happens?" Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.




Transcript:
Hi, I'm Linda Garrett with a Kantola Learning Minute. Here's a topical question we've just gotten from a client who asks: "I've got some employees who I just know are going to show up on the news, video taped carrying signs and yelling slogans that are going to upset some of their co-workers. What should I be prepared to do when that happens?"

You know, that's a really tough question. Normally, off duty behavior is none of the business of the employer, and, normally, people do have a right to free speech and can engage in association with whatever group of people they want to.

But here's the thing: If the off-duty behavior seeps into the workplace in the form of slogans or heated arguments, that's when you can say, "You know what? You have to park it at the door. You leave those discussions, those t-shirts with hate speech or symbols, or whatever; leave it at the door. Save your discussions for after work."

Because, otherwise, you're going to have a lot of emotional arguments, you're going to have a breach in morale; you're going to have a hard time getting anything done in your workplace. It's a very tough problem, it's a tough time to be an employer, but I think the best solution is to keep it outside the workplace. And that's your right as an employer so that everyone feels comfortable at work.

Thanks, and I hope this has been helpful.

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