With the general election now just 3 weeks away, the subject may well have started to filter into the workplace. We look at some popular questions by HR professionals: 

Are the employee's political views "protected" for the purposes of discrimination laws? 

The Equality Act 2010 protects employees from being discriminated against because of their religion or belief. However, the legislation is really aimed at protecting an employee’s philosophical beliefs (rather than their political ones). It is therefore unlikely that support for a particular political party will be covered by this legislation but a strongly held belief in a political doctrine (such as socialism or capitalism) might be. 

One of our employees is undertaking some heavy political campaigning whilst at work. What can we do? 

An employer is perfectly entitled to stop employees using their work time and company resources for political campaigning. However, any ban on campaigning in the workplace should be applied consistently to all employees to avoid any allegations of discrimination or unfairness. 

An employee has asked for time off to vote. Do we have to allow this? 

No, there is no legal right to take time off work to vote. Employers can obviously use their discretion to grant such time off if they wish. However, if discretion is being exercised then do remember to treat all requests in the same way to ensure that there are no allegations of discrimination or unfairness.