Should You Tell Employees How to Vote?
Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney wants you to tell your employees who to vote for on Nov. 6. Presumably, that is because he thinks entrepreneurs and business owners will vote for him.
In a National Federation of Independent Business town-hall style teleconference discussion this summer, Mitt Romney encouraged business owners to talk to their employees about who they should vote for.
"I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope -- I hope you pass those along to your employees," said Romney. "Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well."
This quote is too often "skewed, partial and out-of-context" when brought up in the media, said an NFIB policy analyst during a NFIB live chat with its members Friday afternoon. Further, the analyst said that NFIB had extended the invitation to President Barack Obama to participate in the same teleconference. Of late, the NFIB has come under fire for being conservative-leaning and for defending the interests of big business.
While it isn't illegal to tell your employees which candidate will be better for the business, you would be smart to very clearly state that you are not looking to pressure your employees to vote one way or another, according to attorney Robin E. Shea, editor of the blog Employment and Labor Insider.
Recently megamillionaire and Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel has drawn attention for sending an email to thousands of employees telling them that their job could be on the line if Obama were re-elected. The letter was first published by news and entertainment site Gawker.
"The economy doesn't currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration," wrote Siegel. "Of course, as your employer, I can't tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn't interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose. In fact, I encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best." Siegel then goes on to explain why Obama’s re-election would force him to lay off people.
Do you tell your employees who they should vote for? Why or why not? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.