Why you should never talk politics at work

Do you talk politics in the office? How about your co-workers?

There's no law against it, but our communications coach, Marcia Brandwynne, votes "No" on partaking.

Here's why.

There's no shortage of political opinions on television, but the pundits you see on TV are paid to express their opinion on the job. For the rest of us, talking politics in the office is risky behavior, because you never know whom you're going to offend.

Conservative, moderate or liberal…no matter where you fall in the political spectrum, if you make a habit of discussing your political views at work, you run the risk of damaging your relationships with your co-workers and even your boss.

Your company may, in fact, have rules prohibiting political discourse. If you're inclined to let your beliefs be known, make sure you're not violating company policy.

If you happen to work with someone who can't seem to keep their political opinions to themselves and it bothers you, say so. Be polite but direct, and tell them you prefer not to discuss hot topics like politics while you're working.

The workplace should be neutral ground. If it isn't and you feel uncomfortable with the political discussions around you, it might be time to visit the human resources department and ask them to establish a policy.

Regardless of what your company's position is, establish a policy for yourself. Whenever politics comes up at work, zip it. Nobody ever got in trouble by just listening.

If the direct approach makes you uncomfortable and someone asks you, for example, how you're going to vote, make your answer pleasant and non-confrontational. You might say something neutral like, "I'm still making up my mind."

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