A majority of Americans are afraid to express political or religious views in the workplace, according to an Ipsos poll released Tuesday sponsored by the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
More than 60% of respondents said that expressing political or religious views at work would result in negative consequences, while approximately 25% admitted to knowing someone who experienced negative responses for expressing such views, according to the results. The findings mirror data collected through the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index which rates “viewpoint diversity in corporate product and service offerings, workplaces, and in the public square,” according to its website.
Respondents are also hesitant to post political content on social media and would prefer companies include a wide range of beliefs in its commitment to diversity, according to the results. A plurality supports companies adopting policies that protect viewpoint diversity.
“Corporate America needs to respect the diverse viewpoints within their workforce if they hope to retain and recruit top talent,” Jeremy Tedesco, ADF senior counsel and senior vice president of corporate engagement, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The results clearly show that they’re alienating their workforce and even making it more difficult for them to recruit people, because there were plenty of folks on the survey who said they feared consequences and that they’d even move out of state or accept lower pay to find a tolerant workforce.”
Employees shouldn’t fear that their religious or political views could cost them their job. As part of their commitment to diversity, corporations should respect a wide range of views. | @rc_markets ⬇️ https://t.co/Ct7sBVDewV
— Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal) March 14, 2023
Companies’ public-facing statements on hot-button issues conflict with the views of employees, the poll suggests. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they support bills that uphold parental rights and regulate age-appropriate material in elementary school classrooms.
A plurality of respondents said they do not support employers taking a stance on a topic opposite of their employees, and 64% said that “companies should not be able to coerce their employees to affirm or celebrate social or political views that violate their personal beliefs.” Several major companies including Apple, Target and Starbucks signed a Human Rights Campaign statement opposing bills considered “anti-LGBTQ legislation” proposed at the state level.
Respondents also said to be more uncomfortable expressing their values after participating in bias trainings and that they “divide” colleagues.
Companies should adopt several policies to bolster freedom of speech, Tedesco argued. He suggested companies implement religious accommodations, viewpoint diversity and freedom of thought policies and those “that ensure that employees are not going to be punished for their religious or political views at work.”
The survey, titled “Freedom At Work,” compiled answers from 3,000 adult employees between Oct. 7 to Nov. 16, 2022. A majority of the employees reported to work at Amazon and Walmart.
“We can safely say that this is a wide-ranging problem across all industries,” Tedesco told the DCNF. “All employers need to look at these results and think about what they want to do to restore trust with their own employees and, ultimately, with their consumers and the broader public, as well.”
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