Opinion | Should We Stop Talking Politics at Work?

Produced by ‘The Argument’

The ousting of Donald Trump, the election of Joe Biden, a ransacking of the Capitol, a summer of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and a pandemic that is still raging in parts of the United States and abroad. It has felt like a very political few years. But should we not be allowed to talk about it at work?

Some bosses would strongly prefer that you stayed away from politics at work. A number of companies have proposed policies that would ban or significantly reduce political discussions at the workplace. But who gets to decide what’s political? And does it really benefit the company or its employees to keep these conversations from happening?

[You can listen to this episode of “The Argument” on Apple, Spotify or Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

Liz Wolfe is an editor at Reason and Johnathan Nightingale is an author and a co-founder of Raw Signal Group. They join Jane to debate whether eliminating politics is possible and how it would change the future of the workplace.

Mentioned in this episode:

“Basecamp Becomes the Latest Tech Company To Ban Talking Politics at Work,” by Liz Wolfe at Reason.

“Fundamentally, this is a story about power,” in Johnathan Nightingale’s newsletter.

“Breaking Camp,” by Casey Newton at The Verge.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

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“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha, and edited by Alison Bruzek, Paula Szuchman and Sarah Geis; fact-checking by Jordan Reed; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; additional mixing by Erick Gomez; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

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