Thursday, November 10, 2016

How do we heal at work after this election season? [Updated]

As someone who’s been blogging as long as I have, nearly all of my life experiences run through my blogging filter. “How can translate this into a blog post about the workplace,” is a question I often ask myself. So this is the place in which I found myself yesterday. “What does a Trump presidency mean for labor and employment law?”

And, of course, others in the blogging brethren beat me to the punch. So, instead of re-inventing the wheel, I am simply directing you to the excellent blogs of Dan Schwartz, Robin Shea, Eric Meyer, Cleveland’s ERC, and TLNT.
Instead, I want to focus on a different aspect of Trump’s stunning victory. If the workplace acts as a microcosm of society at large, then how do we heal the fractures that have occurred in our lives from this bitter election season, as surely some have seeped into the workplace.

On this issue, I direct you to the thoughts of Sara Gilgore in the Washington Business Journal, in her article entitled, Have a divided post-election workplace? Here’s how to handle it.
The end of the election might actually benefit the workplace, providing an opportunity for sensitivity training or workshops on civil discourse and “how to agree to disagree and how to work together towards a common goal,” [Elliot] Lasson, [professor of the practice and graduate program director at UMBC at the Universities at Shady Grove] said. “In a good way, we may start to re-evaluate not just political candidates but also the concept of leadership and what does a true leader really mean.”
Or, as Steven Colbert put it last night, “Now, please. Get out there. Kiss a Democrat. Go hug a Republican.” Then again, maybe that’s not the best advice for the workplace after all.

Here’s the point. This election season has been about divisiveness and what separates us as Americans. Now that the election has ended, we all need to figure out how to come back together as a nation, and that includes Ds and Rs who have to spend the plurality of their waking time together each day.

As for me, that healing is going to include taking down the “Icky Trump” sticker from the side of my filing cabinet. It also includes what I wrote on my personal Facebook Wall yesterday morning, after waking to an election result that I had not expected and with which I was not pleased.

Updated (10:17 am)

BuzzFeed published a memo that Apple CEO Tim Cook sent to all Apple employees on the heels of the election results. So, as an update to today’s post, I offer one example of how one company’s leader is choosing to re-build bridges among his employees.
I’ve heard from many of you today about the presidential election. In a political contest where the candidates were so different and each received a similar number of popular votes, it’s inevitable that the aftermath leaves many of you with strong feelings. 
We have a very diverse team of employees, including supporters of each of the candidates. Regardless of which candidate each of us supported as individuals, the only way to move forward is to move forward together. I recall something Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said 50 years ago: “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” This advice is timeless, and a reminder that we only do great work and improve the world by moving forward. 
While there is discussion today about uncertainties ahead, you can be confident that Apple’s North Star hasn’t changed. Our products connect people everywhere, and they provide the tools for our customers to do great things to improve their lives and the world at large. Our company is open to all, and we celebrate the diversity of our team here in the United States and around the world — regardless of what they look like, where they come from, how they worship or who they love. 
I’ve always looked at Apple as one big family and I encourage you to reach out to your co-workers if they are feeling anxious. 
Let’s move forward — together! 

Updated (Nov. 11, 7:19 am)

And this is how an employer should not respond to the election. Below is the company-wide email Grubhub’s CEO sent the morning after, suggesting that employees who support Trump resign (c/o Fox News):
Subject: So...that happened...what’s next? 
I’m still trying to reconcile my own worldview with the overwhelming message that was delivered last night. Clearly there are a lot of people angry and scared as the antithesis of every modern presidential candidate won and will be our next president. 
While demeaning, insulting and ridiculing minorities, immigrants and the physically/mentally disabled worked for Mr.Trump, I want to be clear that this behavior - and these views, have no place at Grubhub. Had he worked here, many of his comments would have resulted in his immediate termination. 
We have worked for years cultivating a culture of support and inclusiveness. I firmly believe that we must bring together different perspectives to continue innovating - including all genders, races, ethnicities and sexual, cultural or ideological preferences. We are better, faster and stronger together. 
Further I absolutely reject the nationalist, anti-immigrant and hateful politics of Donald Trump and will work to shield our community from this movement as best as I can. As we all try to understand what this vote means to us, I want to affirm to anyone on our team that is scared or feels personally exposed,that I and everyone else here at Grubhub will fight for your dignity and your right to make a better life for yourself and your family here in the United States. 
If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here. We do not tolerate hateful attitudes on our team. 
I want to repeat what Hillary said this morning, that the new administration deserves our open minds and a chance to lead, but never stop believing that the fight for what’s right is worth it.