“I am one of the few at work who voted left. In the last election, a large number of my colleagues voted far right. I would like to have more space to express my opinion, but that is not possible now because the majority of right-wing ideas are normal and assume everyone thinks that way. Also They make jokes making fun of leftists.How can you be sure that all political opinions are allowed in the workplace?
Woman (31 years old), a name known to the editors
asking for help
“This woman faces social exclusion based on political affiliation,” says organizational expert Ali Kuiper. She thinks this is a serious matter. “The Equal Treatment Act states that people may not be discriminated against on the basis of their political preferences.”
The regulatory expert believes that the problem facing the 31-year-old woman is now very topical. Kuiper advises companies and organizations on how to ensure a socially safe workplace. Since the election results came in, it has received more requests for help from companies with similar situations. Three times in the last week alone.
According to Kuiper, the woman in question must raise this issue at a higher level. This can be done, for example, with the manager, and perhaps with the help of a confidential advisor. “They need to make it clear to the management where this is happening that it is important for everyone to feel safe in this workplace and that laughing at people and making fun of them based on political affiliation gets in the way of that.”
Unfortunately, not everyone is susceptible to these kinds of moral arguments, Kuiper says, and thus not everyone is willing to adjust their behavior accordingly. In this case, it can help the manager focus on achieving the company’s goals by pointing out that exclusion from colleagues hinders work performance. “Because how well are people able to work together when there is social insecurity? How well are they able to do their work if they feel left out?”
Another option is to visit your company doctor and tell him or her you’re not feeling well at work, Kuiper says. “Exclusion is a form of bullying behaviour. People who have to deal with this for a longer period of time may develop psychological complaints and withdraw from school. Some quit their jobs. Therefore you can also discuss such a case with the company doctor on a preventive basis. He can then raise The situation with the management of the organization.”
According to Kuiper, it’s best to talk about politics in the workplace. She says people only talk about what matters to them, and elections keep us busy with politics. “If you talk about politics at work, do so while respecting all viewpoints.”
Make it comfortable
Grethe van Giffen, founder of business consultancy Seba Cultuurmanagement, finds it striking that within this company it is known who votes for what. “In my opinion, this is not normal,” she says. “People typically experience voting preferences as a private matter.” According to her, the average employer is also not interested in employees talking about this matter. “People with different political views can generally work well together. It simply shouldn’t be about that, and if it is, it should be done with respect.”
Thus, this issue appears to be about more than just politics, Van Giffen believes. “I think there is peer pressure here. A few informal leaders set the tone. The rest follow for fear of falling out of the group. It is possible that some of them do not even vote for the same parties, but they do not dare to say so.” According to Van Giffen, politics In this case it is actually a way to confirm social relations in the group.
It also seems as if the group doesn’t care enough about how the work is best done, Van Giffen says. “If they can talk too much about politics, maybe they don’t have enough work to do. They should talk to each other more about work and less about politics.
According to Van Giffen, the manager can intervene in a light manner. “As a coach, I would say to the team: Keep it fun, we will talk about something else.”
According to Van Giffen, the woman in question may wonder why she wants her political opinion to be heard in the workplace. “It might help her look at the situation a little deeper. Is it about political views she wants to express, or does she have little say in the team in other aspects? I see this quite often in practice with younger staff. The question here is It is whether she feels respected by her colleagues in the general sense.”
Should the workplace be politically neutral? According to Van Giffen, there is no clear answer to this. “But you come to work for the sake of working, not for the discussion.”
The manager can intervene in this situation in a light-hearted way or have a conversation about social safety in the workplace. However, it is important that something happens. Because those who do not feel comfortable at work may perform less well.
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