Mason Prepares for Election Day: Workplace Guidelines

Posted: October 29, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

As the university gears up for the outcome of one of the most closely watched presidential campaigns in memory, Mason’s Human Resources and Payroll office provides some guidelines for “political civility” over the next days and weeks, preparing for long lines at the polls and dealing with post-election emotions.

Election Civility

Each of us has every right to have our own views on the election, politics in general and the candidates specifically. But please be aware that it can get complicated in the workplace. The state’s policy (which Mason follows) defines workplace harassment as:

“Any unwelcome verbal, written or physical conduct that either denigrates or shows hostility or aversion towards a person on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, political affiliation (emphasis added), or disability, that: (1) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment; (2) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance or (3) affects an employee’s employment opportunities or compensation.”

The complete policy is available on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Human Resource Management web site.

Election Day

Because voter turnout is expected to be high for Election Day, please be sure to allow extra time to vote. You may want to alert your supervisor as to when you plan to head to the polls. And supervisors may want to permit flexibility in scheduling on that day to the extent possible. Without approved scheduling changes, late arrivals, extended lunch breaks, and early departures will have to be covered with the use of leave. Annual, family and personal, compensatory and recognition leave may all be used for this purpose.

Election Emotion

Passions run high during election season, as every voter has an opinion on the candidates for each elective office. Election Day by its very nature establishes winners and losers. It’s important that we all be gracious both in victory and in defeat. The workplace is not well served by excessive jubilation or frustration. Those emotions, while very real, are best expressed away from the workplace. In a university as diverse as Mason, the balanced way we choose to handle these triumphs and defeats is a shining example of the kind of inclusive, tolerant and respectful community we have.

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