Editorial: Should politics stay out of the office?

It’s easy to freely express your opinions even when you’re representing a business when you’re Ben and Jerry. You’re cherished, you’re cute, and no one would dare boycott the buckets of the deliciousness of the famous duo.

But being politically active when in the public eye, or when running a business can get tricky.

In their visit to Georgia State, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield said the company’s never had a problem with them being vocal about their political opinions. Even after getting arrested in April for protesting the system at the U.S. Capitol. But unless you’re the brains behind the most craved for ice-cream in the planet, it’s no safe-zone to get political.

In some states, you can be legally fired for voicing an unpopular opinion or denying to participate in a specific movement or campaign. In North Carolina, for example, it’s perfectly legal for a sheriff to fire deputies who do not contribute to his campaign, according to the Huffington Post.

But it’s a whole different story when the boss is doing the influencing. According to Business Insider, bosses don’t get penalized for enforcing their political beliefs upon their employees and suggesting they vote for a particular candidate. That doesn’t mean it goes by unnoticed.

GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney sent out an e-mail to his employees days after the presidential election telling his employees he would not toleratethe hateful behavior, an action, he said, which was meant to promote inclusion.

“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,” he said in the email. “Had he worked here, many of his comments would have resulted in his immediate termination.”

And Matt Maloney got a lot of fire for that. And should he have? Should politics interfere with our business lives? Should the workroom be a place for you to feel comfortable sharing your political beliefs or should those be left at the door by the coathanger?

The answer is yes. Your interview did not include a detailed outline of you and your family’s political leanings and stances on social issues but rather a list of your accomplishments and skills. Political opinions have no place in the office. And sure, we’re not surprised that North Carolina allows such corrupt police practices in its state – but that doesn’t make it OK. Not only is the practice corrupt, but it goes against one of the country’s most core values (and crucial part of the Bill of Rights, shall we mention): freedom of speech. The freedom to express whatever you think is right without being threatened by anyone – in a position of authority or otherwise – to mouth certain opinions, or otherwise lose your job.

So maybe Maloney deserved the fire he received for his position, even though we’re all for calling out President-elect Trump’s comments because it’s simply not allowed for him to impose his opinions on those working with or for him.