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We have Bruce Barry lined up right now correct.
-- How are you you are Vanderbilt University professor of management and sociology.
And we're talking about you know companies and their political beliefs in how he work for one of these companies what you should do in terms of expressing your own.
Political beliefs they can't help thinking about a recent Madonna concert when Madonna said make sure you vote but you know there's -- -- one right person to vote for and that's President Obama.
And in many -- concert -- outrage that they locked out and left.
So that just reminds me of our segment because we're gonna talk about.
Do you have to support your -- politics what do you think.
Well you certainly shouldn't have to support your -- politics and nor should you by the way have to support -- concert performer yeah.
I think that.
I think everybody sort of understands that the idea that the your employer your boss can tell you what to think politically.
Whom to vote for something that most people I think -- a lot of people the wrong way.
But on the other hand we did this tradition of free speech the idea that your boss doesn't have the right.
To express his or her opinion about about politics but also -- a bit ridiculous so we have this this tricky little tension between.
The right not to be -- into a political opinion -- your employer but on the other hand everybody's right to express themselves.
OK and how it would -- what are some tips say you would give.
For our guiding.
And employees about how they should.
Maybe express themselves politically.
Well okay so I mean you know part of this is about how to express yourself politically part of this is about how to.
-- resist your employers pressure.
To act -- believe in a certain way you know we have the election obviously coming up in eight days and in this current election cycle we've seen a number of news reports about.
Employers in large companies who are you know communicating with their employees and a formal way sending an email or memo saying we really think you should think this.
About the presidential election -- that you should vote in this particular way by the -- Wanamaker campaign contribution.
Man around -- isn't right here sure.
I'm thinking as you're speaking I'm thinking of the -- letter to their employees some sure what are some what it would.
What are they iams the -- samples in her head as your sentiments.
Well three that have got a lot of attention one is that the president and CEO of Coke industries who who sent this.
Sort of all hands.
People who work for that that companies ought to support.
Romney over Obama for president now now I think he made -- so -- hyperbolic statement when he said that.
That that the America of the future generations will inherit depends on what you my employees do in this election that.
That's that's little bit over the top.
But other examples this -- Siegel who.
Is the founder and CEO of Westgate resorts a very large timeshare company also communicated.
With his employees as a software company.
-- -- -- the same thing and so you know employees have to decide what to do with this call -- information some might call it.
You I think you always see employers when they write these letters are engaged in these kinds of communications -- you know they usually throw in the caveat hey look you know.
We respect the political process.
You should vote for whomever you want to vote for you should not.
Take this as as some form of pressure or threat that about your -- employment status.
But I what I worry about is that it's hard for people not to take it as a kind of implied threat.
Of course employers are gonna make those disclaimers because -- and some states -- would run afoul of the law if you really.
Put pressure on employees to vote in certain -- -- to contribute in a certain way.
The problem is though.
By doing so by reading these letters even with the qualifications in the caveats.
You create this kind of climate of at least mild intimidation.
That suggests that if you don't give you the employee if you don't sort of adhered to.
Or follow kind of the company line on how we think about politics.
You'll be looked upon somehow less favorably and a and and I think what I worry about is that it.
What this does is it it it intimidate some employees into kind of a culture of silence and to fearing that active political involvement.
We'll get me into trouble.
And you know act of political involvement you can do it on your own time.
Away from work but in in this 24/7 media.
And social media society it's.
It's not all that absurd to she's in that the things you doing your own time.
Will will you know your employer will noticed she discuss your political views with -- co workers.
Should you that's that's an interest in quest in I think people discuss all kinds of things but -- co -- right they discuss what the score of last night's ball game.
They discuss the big storm that's bearing debt and on the East Coast.
They they might discuss the election that's coming up in a week the the debate that happened on television the other night and I think that employees should feel free.
To discuss their lives with their co workers to the extent that you know they're still doing their jobs and all that.
A lot of people would say well do your politics on your own time after work on the weekends.
And that's that's lovely -- but I think a lot of people really do live out there.
Their lives at the job I mean for for many people especially people with young children you know work is the only place you might have adult contact in the course of the week.
And so I.
I wouldn't be crazy about workplaces that say thou shalt not.
Ever talk politics -- within these walls I think people should be able to discuss politics at work if they want to.
What about that is the State's laws where you work what about the velocity your state has about employers in politics pleased about that.
Well in this country we don't we don't have any kind of sort of federal civil rights laws that say that you know you can't be discriminated.
Against because of your political opinion that if if a private sector employers as I want no Republicans working here.
They can do that.
Except in some states because what we have as as your question you know suggest we have a lot of variation from state to state in the degree to which the laws.
Protect -- protect employees from pressure by their employers.
Regarding you know any kind of political activity so so that the fact of the matter is it kind of depends on on where you live in in 2004.
When a woman in in Alabama was fired for having -- John Kerry for president bumper sticker on her car.
She could be legally fired.
Because she lived in Alabama but she would have been protected against that actually lived in some other places that you lived -- California.
Perhaps Louisiana north go to -- other places so so get state law varies different kinds of protections first Barry thank you so much for coming --
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