In the United States, we have federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, harassment, and unfair treatment in the workplace by anyone because of race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, transgender status, and sexual orientation), pregnancy, national origin, age (40 or older), disability, and genetic information.
Absent from the above protected categories, however, is political party identification or orientation, which means it is still legal to discriminate against a job applicant because of his/her politics.
Airtasker is an online platform that “connects people who need to outsource tasks and find local services, with people who are looking to earn money and ready to work.” Tasks can range from simple to complicated, such as home cleaning, handyman jobs, admin work, photography, graphic design or build a website.
Airtasker recently surveyed more than 1,000 people in the United States about the hiring process, layoffs, co-worker gossip, and workplace discussions to find out “what’s really going on inside offices across the country regarding discrimination”. Those surveyed include:
- 204 “people with hiring responsibilities”
- 805 employees
51% of respondents identified with slightly left, left, and very left political views; 32% identified with slightly right, right, and very right political views; and 16% identified with neither left nor right political views.
The survey has a 3% margin of error for employee statistics, and a 7% margin of error for individuals with hiring responsibilities.
The survey found that:
- 38% of hiring managers said it was important to know a job applicant’s stance on immigration — which is a political issue.
- 32% of hiring managers said it was important to know a job applicant’s stance on politics.
- 18% of hiring managers reported not hiring someone because of their politics.
- 16% of hiring managers reported not hiring someone because of their stance on immigration.
Since immigration is a political issue, that means more than one out of three (34%) hiring managers said they had not hired someone solely because of the applicant’s politics.
Airtasker points out:
Even if those people had been hired instead of passed over, it’s important to understand that a U.S.-based company can still terminate you for your political opinions.
The survey also found that more than two-thirds (69%) of hiring managers said they combed a potential employee’s social media before making a final decision. Facebook was the most frequently consulted site (91%), followed by Instagram (62%) and a near tie between Twitter and LinkedIn (56% and 55%, respectively).
51% of hiring managers who leaned left and another 57% who leaned right said they would not hire a qualified candidate if they expressed a strong opinion on social media about a controversial political issue.
Moreover, the survey found that even if hiring managers did not discriminate against an applicant because of his/her political beliefs, the employee nevertheless may experience discrimination by other workers:
- 42% of employees in the survey said they had discussed their co-workers’ “political views”; 25% said they had discussed their co-workers’ stances on immigration.
- Since immigration is a political issue, that means a whopping 67% of employees said they had discussed their co-workers’ politics.
- It is no wonder then that some employees feel they’re treated negatively by their co-workers because of their politics:
- 14% said they’re treated negatively because of their “political views”; 7% said they’re treated negatively because of their stances on immigration.
- Since immigration is a political issue, that means 21% of employees in the survey reported they’re treated negatively by their co-workers because of their politics.
The Airtasker survey then narrowed down politics specifically to being pro-Trump, and found that:
- 3-of-10 (29%) of hiring managers said they would not hire a job candidate who supports President Trump. Of these hiring managers:
- 20% of managers who identify as “left” said they wouldn’t hire a person who supports Trump.
- 9% of managers who identify as “right” said they wouldn’t hire a person who supports Trump.
- Even if they were hired, pro-Trump employees experienced the following from their co-workers:
- 28% experienced “joking about them”.
- 23% felt their co-workers are “overly critical of them”.
- 23% said their co-workers “make assumptions about their character”.
- 21% said their co-workers are “dismissive of them”.
- 14% said their co-workers gossip/spread rumors about them.
- 13% said they are socially ostracized — “excluding them from social situations”.
- 11% said they experienced “name-calling”.
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