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Ask Cathy
Politically Outspoken at Work

Q. I work with a woman who is very outspoken in her political views. Even when we agree on an issue (which is seldom) I don't think the workplace is the right venue for political discussions.

She says it doesn't matter because we do not deal directly with the public and that people need to stand up for what they believe. My question is two-fold.

First, do you agree that it is okay since we are not dealing with the public and second, how do I make it stop? Thanks.

Dear Politics-at-Work,

I too, know people who are completely obsessed with discussing politics and who argue tirelessly (with anyone who will listen) about the merits of their position on contentious issues.

I too, find it inappropriate, overwhelming and very tiring. It is unacceptable for anyone in a shared work environment to be a bully about anything, including the laying out of their contentious political views to others who do not care to hear and/or disagree with them.

The decision about whether the expression of political views in the workplace is appropriate or not has nothing to do with the issue of dealing directly with the public.

My view is that an opinion bully needs to keep her outspoken views to herself unless someone either asks for them or wants to engage in banter and debate of that flavor.

I would shut down the outspoken political badger by sharing with her this response, or by speaking with a senior work colleague who can impose the correct protocol on workplace chatter of this sort.

Ruthless bullying takes lots of forms and a political views bully can be equally weary and very oppressive. Good luck.



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