What Should I Avoid Talking About at My Federal Workplace?

Topics of Discussion and Their Legalities

Common topics of concern are religion, sexual orientation, wages, or political stance. Each one is unique is its limitations and protection regarding conversations in the workplace. Concerns about what you can and cannot talk about at work are warranted, especially when so many people are facing discipline for things that were of no concern years ago. As the pendulum of workplace equality swings, as topics of conversation become more liberated, and as employees are finding their voices, not only are you empowered—you are also under more scrutiny. Let the team of DC federal employment attorneys at John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorney at Law help you if you believe you have a complaint or if you are facing discipline for a workplace conversation.

Topics of concern in conversation may include:

  • Can I talk about religion? You are allowed to discuss your religion, and practice religious expression with fellow employees in the workplace, but your employer may limit the religious paraphernalia that you put up in your cubicle if it is offensive, excessive, oversized, or on common walls.
  • Can I talk about sexual orientation? You are legally protected against discrimination because of sexual orientation in the workplace, but this is a subject that is discretionary regarding the conversation itself. If you are discussing orientation in a non-sexual way (non-explicit) then you are not violating regulations, but if any discussions are viewed as harassment in nature, you may want to save them for after hours. This topic should be discussed with the same discernment that you would use when speaking in front of any mixed company.
  • Can I talk about my wages? Under protection of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), you can discuss your wages without fear of discipline. As previously discussed, it is illegal for an employer to fire an employee just for talking about wages at work.
  • Can I talk about my political stance? Discussion of political preferences is a violation of the Hatch Act for many government officials, so this is a topic best kept for non-work hours. Political affiliations and your voting plans should be kept to yourself if you are unsure about the specifics of the law regarding your position at work.

Federal Employment Lawyers in DC

If you are unsure about discussions in your workplace, or you believe that someone’s choice of discussion is harassment, you need the legal guidance from a knowledgeable federal employment attorney. Our team of DC federal employment lawyers at John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorney at Law can help you discern whether you have a complaint, or on the contrary, whether you should be concerned about complaints.

Contact our team at (877) 771-2231 to discuss your concerns.

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