Greenfield: Workplace Political Discrimination is the Civil Rights Crisis of Our Time
Federal, state and municipal governments relentlessly pursue workplace discrimination, but none of them address the most pervasive form of workplace discrimination in America.Political discrimination or viewpoint discrimination is everywhere.
And yet at a time when workplaces impose unconscious bias tests to target racial prejudice and other forms of discrimination, few corporations look for viewpoint discrimination. Some even mandate it in their HR procedures which systematically discriminate against conservatives. 2019 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that a third of workers believe their employer is intolerant of differing political views. A Perceptyx survey in 2020 found that nearly half of employees expressed concern that they would be mistreated if they disagreed with their manager’s politics and 53% thought it would negatively impact their careers. Even though numbers like these point to a much higher incidence of workplace discrimination than most of the identity politics metrics that government employment protection groups focus on, viewpoint discrimination is still not being addressed either by legislators or officials even though projecting some of these numbers would indicate that it affects tens of millions of people. The cancel culture crisis that began on college campuses has spread into the workplace. In our recent breakdown of the crisis at universities, the David Horowitz Freedom Center cited statistics showing the degree to which college students feel intimidated into keeping quiet. At MIT, 68% of students were afraid to disagree with a professor about a controversial topic and 40% of faculty members were keeping quiet to avoid getting into trouble. A majority of students at the University of Wisconsin have stayed quiet in class and 37%, mostly conservative, felt pressured to agree with an instructor’s position. But, as we pointed out, the nation has become one giant college campus, and workplaces have become the next front in the woke culture wars. This survey from the Alliance Defending Freedom drills down to show how the campus iron curtain has fallen on workplaces and gets hard numbers on who is being intimidated into keeping quiet about their political views. The survey shows that conservatives are being disproportionately impacted by workplace viewpoint discrimination which also implies that leftists are responsible for much of viewpoint discrimination in the workplace. The numbers shown in the ADF survey are significantly higher in some regards than the 2019 and 2020 surveys, implying that workplace viewpoint discrimination is worsening every year. The ADF survey notes that, “large majorities (60% and 64%) say that respectfully expressing religious or political viewpoints would likely or somewhat likely carry negative consequences on their employment.” What’s really disturbing is that people are not just afraid to express their views at work, which are arguably not places for political or religious debates, but on their own time as “54% say they are concerned that sharing political content on their own social media accounts could result in negative consequences in the workplace.” That’s a majority of Americans who are self-censoring their own views full time because they exist in a social media panopticon. Is all of this hypothetical? Are people making a big deal over perceptions and empty fears? “1 in 4 say they know someone who has experienced negative consequences for respectfully expressing their political viewpoints (27%) or religious viewpoints (25%).” 44% of the workers who were worried about it were conservative, 26% moderate and only 28% liberal. Of those who described negative consequences for expressing political views, 44% were conservative, another 28% were moderate and only 26% were liberal. That strongly suggests that workplace discrimination over political affiliation disproportionately affects non-leftists (72%). It also follows that for workplace viewpoint discrimination is mostly practiced by leftists against non-leftists. And indeed, virtually every high-profile case of someone being fired over their politics in the last 3 years involves Americans falling afoul of leftist companies. The survey reports that 147 workers were fired for discussing their political views. Of those, 82 were conservative, 35 were moderate and only 31 were liberal. Another 163 were demoted, 181 were excluded from professional development, 274 faced hostile treatment at work, and another 81 suffered all of the above. Considering that this was a survey of 3,000 workers, that is a sizable number. 25% or 753 workers said that they knew someone who had “experienced negative treatment or discrimination at work for respectfully communicating a religious viewpoint?” 332 of those fellow workers were conservative, 234 were moderate, 229 were liberal. 177 workers were fired, 181 were demoted, 226 were excluded from professional development and 322 faced hostile treatment. This is a civil rights crisis of workplace discrimination that has been ignored for too long. Biden’s EEOC claims the right to protect men who claim to be women (despite the lack of any law allowing it to do any such thing) along with every possible identity politics, but offers no protection for workers suffering from the pervasive crisis of viewpoint discrimination. The failure of agencies, commissions and officials to protect workers discriminated against due to their viewpoints shows how outdated forms of civil rights legislation no longer address the forms of discrimination that workers face today. Federal and state administrations and legislatures need to step up and take action to fight this most pervasive form of discrimination. That means ensuring that workplace rules on political discourse and identification should be even-handed and not discriminatory. That means workplaces cannot permit, let alone promote, Black Lives Matter, while barring viewpoints and perspectives that differ from the racist movement. Similarly employees should be able to promote all political candidates or none. Finally workers should not fear that their private speech outside the workplace should impact their employment. In recent years workers who were targeted by woke cancel culture were fired even when the activities that some found offensive consisted of personal opinions expressed on their own time. Most jobs do not require ‘moral clauses’ and clear cases of viewpoint discrimination like these deserve civil rights protections. The Constitution offers protection first and foremost to political viewpoints, not identities. America was founded on defending political dissent, rather than race, sexuality or any such thing. The failure to fight viewpoint discrimination betrays the founding legacy of America.Meanwhile the problem appears to have worsened over the last 4 years. A