Managing the Stress & Discord of 2020

2020 has been an extraordinary year. COVID-19 fear, economic distress, heightened awareness of racial injustice. Is wearing a mask a valid directive or an unacceptable infringement on one’s “rights?” AND it’s an election year! Fear, stress, unrest, resentment and conflicting views have stacked up to create high levels of tension, discord, and even anger in the workplace. Learn how employers can control the divisiveness to maintain an effective, civil workplace and understand where the legal hot spots are. We’ll also review what policies and practices help in times of tension.

“Political” expression is not confined to elections and support of candidates. It includes social movements and issue-oriented positions regarding social justice, human or social rights. Black Lives Matter, racial justice is a current issue which clearly impacts the workplace.

Many employers have issued public statements in support of Black Lives Matter, racial justice and committing their company to diversity, racial fairness, equity, etc. Employers devote special efforts to promote these agencies, establish committees, provide training, sponsor public events. Employees show support and advocate for these issues at work, join committees, wear logos or now face masks with BLM messages.

Yet there are employees who disagree. They may not understand and have mischaracterized the social issues. Or they may just disagree. They may wear buttons, logos or face masks with the opposite position.

How does an employer balance the conflicting employee opinions and tensions in the workplace? Some of these challenges are unprecedented, while others put a new spin on existing employment laws. The laws include the EEO discrimination laws protecting “political beliefs.”  National Labor Relations Act; privacy rights and in some case the Constitution.

Covered Topics

  • Current major discord issues
  • Get ahead of it! – Foundation policies for maintaining or establishing civility in these tumultuous times
  • Other foundation policies to have in place
  • When employees object and refuse to comply – the array of federal and state laws providing employer control or employee rights. Learn how to effectively balance these and stay in control
  • COVID-19 and masks when employees refuse to comply
  • Is there a “right to refuse?
  • ADA disability issues
  • Social-political expression and tensions – allowing or prohibiting logos, display of messaging
  • What if the employer espouses a social-political position and an employee disagrees?
  • Beyond compliance and tolerance, to civility and respectful workplace
  • And more

Who Should Attend?

Human Resources Managers, Safety & Security personnel, Branch Managers, Executives, Supervisors, EEO/AA Officers, Diversity Committee.