Talking politics at work: what are the limits?

What are the limits to be respected in this period between the two rounds of the presidential campaign? Can we be punished? Philippe Wagner is the co-founder of Captain Contract, an online legal services platform for businesses.

franceinfo: Can we talk politics at work? What are the rights of employees in this regard?

Philip Wagner: Employees enjoy freedom of expression, it is a fundamental freedom guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, so they can talk about anything, except abuse…

What are the limits not to exceed?

There is an obligation of loyalty and discretion vis-à-vis the employer. That’s if we talk about politics outside of work, not to associate the image of the company, so as not to engage the image of the company, also to avoid abusive, defamatory, excessive remarks, which aim to denigrate a particular employee or even the company, and which could disrupt the smooth running of the company.

The limit is to interfere with the operation of the company…

We can think of someone who, through repeated remarks or behavior, would exert moral pressure on one of his colleagues who would prevent him from carrying out his tasks as he usually would. Or denigrate the company’s image in the public square, which would have serious repercussions for it.

And there is also proselytism?

It’s being zealous, trying to recruit and convince, winning someone over to your cause, it can be religious or political. This goes against the right to believe or not to believe, the right to hold political beliefs or not to have one.

It is this pressure which is involved in proselytism and which makes it prohibited. The distribution of leaflets was considered an abuse, one can also think of putting up posters or wearing T-shirts.

What if I take political positions on social networks?

Outside of work, beyond this obligation of loyalty and discretion vis-à-vis the employer, so if we don’t mention the name of the company we work for, I have the right to express myself as I wish.

If I go too far, how can the employer react?

He has an arsenal of sanctions that range from reprimand to warning, suspension and even dismissal. If someone proselytizes in front of an assembly of hundreds of collaborators, it can be a serious fault and therefore go as far as dismissal.

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