Politics and Your Employers

By Jacalyn S Burke,

How is your political journey going? The great thing about the 2016 presidential candidates is that they are all provoking strong responses in people. Some of those responses can feel uncomfortable at times. For example, an Afro-Caribbean nanny who has strong Democratic affiliations might feel awkward about working for a pro-Trump employer. Or a conservative or religious nanny might feel uncomfortable around an overly Liberal employer who fiscally supports Planned Parenthood. Political opinions for the most part remain a private affair – that is, until we enter election year.

So – how can we as employers or employees navigate the delicate issue of conflicting political views? Perhaps first of all we can attempt to remain neutral in the workplace. It’s our right to have political opinions but we don’t have the right to change other people’s minds on theirs. It might also be a polite gesture not to sport pins or apparel festooned with a particular candidate to work or in our home when our child care provider is present.

Golden Rule

As nannies we are all too aware of the influence that we as adults hold over our charges. It might be tempting to talk to the children about our religious convictions, for example, beyond explaining the basis of our beliefs. The same applies in politics. While its perfectly legitimate to declare our political loyalties we risk crossing a line of professionalism if we try to persuade our charges about the positive qualities of a certain presidential candidate or party.

What should we do if our employer tries to influence our vote? We needn’t be reactionary. It’s our personal right to vote for whomever we wish. So we can calmly tell our employer that we do not discuss politics in our workplace. What can we do if our employee speaks to us or our children about their preferred candidate? Again, we can inform our nanny that politics is not a suitable topic of conversation in our home.

As we enter into the final months of a general election the public mood will become even more heated as people find their camp and dig in. As Americans we pride ourselves on our due process and the freedom to choose our particular form of government. Despite the large differences in policies both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have at their core an unyielding love for our great nation. As employers and employees we can accommodate choice in one another and stay focused on what is truly important – working together as a team for the good of the children.

In our own time we can march or volunteer or enter into energetic debates with our friends and neighbors. That’s the fun part of living in a healthy democracy. And if you haven’t already registered make sure that you do. Your vote counts!