Hootsworth’s Questions & Answers

I've witnessed someone displaying the signs of unwelcome conduct while another person leans the opposite way with frequent political jokes in a meeting. It could be construed as severe or pervasive. But since political speech is not a protected class, it's not harassment?


Thanks for your question... political speech in most states is not a legally protected trait or characteristic - so making frequent political jokes that others find unwelcome and offensive would typically not be a legal problem, but it's still a culture and respect problem as that behavior lacks respect or sensitivity to others on the team who have a different perspective.

A culture/respect problem is still a problem and the person making frequent political jokes should be coached as to how the jokes may negatively impact others on the team.

Hope that helps.

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Answered by
Phyllis Cheng
Employment Law Expert
March 6 2018
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