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Ethics, Politics and the Workplace

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As you may have heard, seen, or read on various news sources, ethics in politics seem to be the hot topic on everyone’s mind these days. Navigating controversial points of views – such as politics – is a timeless challenge faced by employees in all levels of an organization. No matter how many HR disclaimers are sent, or how good of a friend you are with someone who differs in your political (or any type of) point of view, current events may present argument prone topics nonetheless.

How do you amicably navigate these controversial topics of conversation, keep your workplace friendships, while simultaneously keep your heart rate and stress levels down? Great question! Our first order of business is to direct you to an emotional intelligence subject matter expert who recently shared his tips and tricks with us here.

The following tips have been compiled by the CPT Staff to help you professionally tackle these hot topics:

    • Alfonzo: “Every action will cause a reaction. I make it a practice at work to try steer away for controversial topics that can be divisive. Topics that do not impact our business are usually avoidable. However, some coworkers may be persistent at bringing up certain subjects. When you cannot avoid the conversation, it is best to openly share with the individuals that you do not feel comfortable discussing that at work, since it is not pertinent to your job. However, I have had times when the subject-matter was considerably against my beliefs, and I had to say something. In those situations, I thought out my response very well and detailed, before I responded. I also led with a disclaimer that my initial statement was going to be my only statement.” Alfonzo Alexander, President


  • Ryan: “As a manager, I try to think about the impact my words have on my team. When you build a diverse team, you typically have team members with different views on current events and other political issues. If I take a hard stance for or against a given topic, I will potentially create unnecessary barriers within my team. I often ask myself whether discussing my political opinions or affiliations is more likely to help us or prevent us from working together to do our jobs. In the rare instances when I do find myself sharing my views, I try to do so in a respectful way that lets others know that I respect their views, even if we disagree.” Ryan Hirsch, Operations Manager


  • Sydney: “As the staff newbie, this is definitely something that has been on my mind. I tend to be fairly outspoken about politics in my personal life, but also consider myself very open-minded. I think that it is great to engage in difficult conversations about the political landscape with those whom you spend 40+ hours a week with. At the same time, I recommend proceeding with caution when you start a new job. Get to know the culture and your co-workers before engaging too deeply. Perhaps start with discussions about topics that relate to your work. At the CPT, for instance, it behooves us to closely follow legislation around tax laws and the charitable deduction. This is a good place to begin delving into the issue of politics at your workplace.” Sydney Shearer, Development and Student Programs Specialist
  • Ashley: In the words of Aretha Franklin, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” It’s important to remember that you AND your team members were hired to do a job and to offer unique perspectives on projects, brainstorming sessions and other work-related items. Respecting your team member’s thoughts, ideas and beliefs (political, religious, etc.) are critical in establishing a healthy team culture which in turn should produce successful results.” Ashley Metivier, Activities Coordinator
  • Alexia: “In my experience, the company culture you work in will help or hinder this, and most, inevitable day to day challenges. Although this is not something you can 100% foresee when you start a new job, there are certain red flags to watch out for and questions you can ask during your interview to ensure that the culture you would potentially join is a good fit.” Alexia Kammer, Business Development Specialist


Have you recently had to navigate a hot topic at work? Tell us how you handled it by emailing us at All submissions will remain anonymous.

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