Get out the vote

"I never voted for anybody. I always voted against." — W.C. Fields

In two months, U.S. voters will go to the polls and select the next U.S. president. But this election (and the campaigns leading up to it) will be like nothing else the country has ever experienced. Deeply divisive candidates lead both major parties, and the political rhetoric has turned some friends into foes.

As discussed in the August issue, it is inevitable your employees (and probably you) will discuss the upcoming election at your workplace. However, as noted in August's "Politics in the workplace," you need to be careful, and doing the following things will help you navigate your staff through this unique time:

  1. Determine what laws apply to your workplace, and develop an action plan to ensure compliance.
  2. Draft or update relevant workplace rules and policies.
  3. Adequately train managers to identify and address political speech that violates workplace policies and rules.
  4. If appropriate, create a plan for increasing employee morale and maintaining productivity, and do not encourage employees to discuss political views at work (for example, don't televise debates at your workplace).

In addition, each state has slightly different approaches to employee rights during elections. In this month's issue, we provide a state-by-state analysis of what is and is not legally acceptable in the workplace.

Gray I. Mateo-Harris, senior associate at the Chicago office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C., author of both articles, writes: "The tone and rhetoric of this election cycle promise to keep even the most well-meaning employers on their toes as employees raise rarely seen employment issues stemming from often obscure workplace laws."

Mateo-Harris also conducted an NRCA webinar about the topic. The webinar recording is free to all NRCA members and available for download at your convenience. For more information, go to

Regardless of where you stand politically, it goes without saying the act of voting is a civic duty we all should take seriously. Encourage your employees to make their choices Nov. 8 while ensuring your workplace is welcoming to all political views before, during and after the election.

Ambika Puniani Bailey is editor of Professional Roofing and NRCA's vice president of communications and production.


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