Your Reaction

Say you work at a non-profit and as non-profits go, it’s a laid back atmosphere most days. People come to work wearing flip flops or shorts when it is hot out. When you wear a dress, people inquire why you are dressed up. We do good work. We help kids. Sometimes on Fridays around 4pm, we drink wine in the middle of cubicle land.

Say you buy a t-shirt supporting your presidential candidate that has a picture of his face and words that say “power to the people” underneath. Say you wear this shirt to work one day because you need to do laundry and later in the afternoon you are slated to watch your nephew so you need to wear comfy clothes- hence the jeans, Chucks and t-shirt.

Say you are required that day to sit in a talk about how your brain learns and how stressed brains learn differently than non-stressed brains (very interesting topic- seriously, it was riveting). The audience is mostly comprised of fellow staff but there are some outside collaborators in the mix. Most of the morning you are sitting in a chair and no one is paying you any mind except for the couple of people who ask you where to get a shirt like that.

Say you get up to get water and when doing so, run into a person of prominence at your agency who asks you to do him a favor. That favor is not to wear your political t-shirt to work because it might “offend” people. Further, that it could potentially create a “hostile work environment.” Flustered because there is no written dress code policy and to you, the shirt is neither offensive nor hostile, you are taken aback. The authority person does go so far as to mention his political affiliation which is in line with your own.

Say you know for a fact that other people at work have worn political shirts without being spoken to and thus, feel somewhat targeted. Say you feel censored and confused- why is it okay to tell one person not to wear a shirt but not tell everyone?

Whether you support the same candidate as the person or not- would you actually be offended if you saw someone wearing a pro-Obama or pro-McCain shirt? And while I can understand leaving politics out of the work place, if there is no written or understood policy in a laid back work environment, was it right to target one person?


82 thoughts on “Your Reaction

  1. Oh, now this would make me mad. If t-shirts are acceptable for the nonexistent dress code, and your shirt isn’t vulgar or sexual innuendo-laden (which obviously it is NOT), I don’t see the problem.

    You should talk to the higher-up who reprimanded you. Have a discussion with him about how you feel on the subject, and let him know that you feel like this is unfair. You could even go so far as to ask your co-workers if they would be offended or uncomfortable if ANYONE wore a shirt proclaiming their support for any political candidate, on either side of the spectrum.

    Bah humbug, I hate stuff like this.

  2. I would not be offended unless it were an offensive shirt (swearing, lewd, etc) – which yours is not.

    I can understand it not being appropriate for work, but YOU should not have been the only one told that. And perhaps some standards should be implemented.

    I can also see it creating a hostile work environment in the sense that it could spur political talk and no one seems to be able to discuss politics calmly – only argue about it and try (in a loud voice, usually) to convince the opposing party supporter they they are wrong and the loud arguer is right. Because he who yells loudest wins, of course.

  3. ok, i will trhow down, eyebrow goddess…. given there isn’t a policy, it would seem out of line for the person to make a comment diectly to you, but perhaps they should just make a policy as i can understand the idea of where they are coming from. my political views are also in line with yours and clearly your work environment is a more relaxed one and the reality is, given where you live, most if not all people there feel as you do…

    i would give the boss person the benefit of the doubt and my first assumption is that myabe that person had not encountered the other people personally wearing the shirts and that this meeting was with “outsiders” and the boss was more sensitive then usual.

    heres the question though – when one is in the majority opinion – as i am assuming you are in your work place, it is comfortable for you. as a former san fransiscan who has been moving throught the “fly over” states and is now in virginia, i am CONSTANTLY shocked by the way middle and right-leaning americans feel like there couldn’t possibly be anyone who doesn’t agree with them and therefore why have a discussion. like don’t say christmas – well, that seems kind of dumb to me, but, if i were jewish or islamic, maybe it would start to grate on me. cause i know it does when people in the OR start spouting off about politics or abortion or entire races of people AS IF everyone agrees with their ridiculous and small minded beliefs.

    i hope your work place would encourage anyone to display expression such as a positive tshirt that isn’t slamming anyone, but it is quite possible that righties on the west coast are scared or don’t want to be ridiculed and i guess we have to work the PC thing both ways?

    don’t know if you beleive in this or not, but would you wear a pro-choice t shirt to work? i try and tone myself down. i suppose it is my bumper stickers that do my talking…. heh

  4. I have a different take on it. I doubt that I’d ever be offended by a campaign tee shirt. On the other hand, “Power to the People” sets my teeth on edge. Any slogan used by terrorists and enemies of America does that to me.

  5. i, personally wouldn’t be offended. and i would think that since your office doesn’t have any set dresscode, that you alone, shouldn’t be targeted. if the higher ups have a problem with it, they should address it to everyone, and then, accordingly, change the dresscode.

  6. if it wasn’t hr that approached you, talk to them. i have a ton of tshirts that would be considered “inappropriate” here at work (i too work for a non-profit) and if i wear them, i make sure to wear something over them. but wearing them makes ME feel good. if there isn’t a written policy, there should be. if you feel targeted, you need to express that, and get it in writing, in the unfortunate event of termination. (not saying it will happen, but stranger things have.)

  7. While the higher up’s reaction was lame, I have to agree with the comment above that they were just being sensitive with the outsiders around. It doesn’t help now with the conventions over, folks are digging in for a debates/fights.

    I wouldn’t make too much out it – rather not have a new dress code enforced when there wasn’t one before (and be the cause of it).

  8. What’s their policy for bumper stickers on cars? I mean, in my workplace we all park in the same reserved spaces every day. Everyone knows each others cars. Some people have McCain stickers. Some people have Ron Paul stickers. Would that also be frowned upon in your office?

  9. No. If there is no policy on this and if others have worn political shirts before and not been told off, then the person of “prominence” had no right to single you out. Can you inquire as to why you were the person singled out? Or would that cause too much drama?

  10. Well, I’m not an Obama supporter but I’m not offended. Without knowing more about your higher-up, I’m thinking he may not share your political point of view. Hence the “offensive”. I’d talk to him and tell him that there was never any policy with regard to the wearing of campaign t-shirts in place until you wore yours. And then I’d ask why.

  11. first of all, if there is no written policy on the issue, then he had no business telling you that.

    I know that where I work, we have to be very aware of appearing neutral. But it’s part of the job and the role here.

  12. I agree that one person should not be targeted specifically.. It should be made into a policy or at least enforced company wide not drawing attention to that particular person.

    I feel that those type of shirts spark conversation as long as people are respectful, it should not actively be discouraged. I do, however, feel that if the shirt crosses the line to offend a particular group (ie minorities, gender issues etc) then that should be restricted.

  13. No matter what your political views are, you should NOT be targeted if other people are wearing candidate shirts as well. That’s crap.

    I’d tell him my nephew’s opinion and our date was more important than him, but if he’d like to set up a formal conversation to discuss the dress code policy with me at another time, that would be fine.

  14. I used to be a teacher and on a field trip to a water park one of my tattoos showed. Because we were at a water park and it is on my ankle. I was written up for that. Should I have worn socks to cover it????

    Perhaps they need to write a dress code if that is the expectation so that everyone is aware it exists instead of it being sort of arbitrary rules. I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be embarrassing to you, or to single you out, and I guess I can see why they might not want political things in the office, but then it needs to be a written policy so everyone knows what to expect. It seems like a pretty casual dress kind of place, and because of that, I am surprised that you were confronted or that it bothered anyone.

  15. It’s said the two subjects to avoid are Politics and Religion. I can see a work environment not wanting rhetoric of that sort, but it should be upheld across the board. Having said that? I think it may have come up in conversation today, because the political climate is very volatile right now, what with the election this year and the conferences just ending. Your boss picked a fight with you, to avoid a bigger fight maybe down the road– but he better uphold the line for everybody. It does hurt peoples feelings to feel censored. Sorry you felt targeted, Sizzle.
    It wasn’t offensive or out of line of you.

  16. If there is no formal policy, it was actually wrong of him to single you out. Sending out a new policy to the company as a whole about prohibiting certain clothes is one thing, but telling only you is flatly wrong.

  17. I get why employers might not want political t-shirts, pins, posters, etc. in the workplace. People are entitled to different opinions and sometimes politics can get in the way of doing business (especially when that business has no bearing on your political sway).

    However, targeting one person or another is unacceptable. I might respond to that person of prominence with something along the lines of, “I totally understand where you’re coming from, but was not aware that was part of our organization’s policy. Do you think others are unaware, too? Maybe we should send out a friendly email reminder?”

    And then cuss him/her out under your breath. šŸ™‚

  18. It wouldn’t offend me, either way but I wouldn’t wear such a tee-shirt to work. I’ve always worked in conservative environments (progressive in their missions, mind you) so that’s what I’ve been shaped by. I’ve only worked at non-profits that had strict lobbying guidelines and I was taught to be very careful about saying or doing anything that could misconstrued as potential endorsement for any candidate.

    But I can understand being bothered by being called out though. That’s a shame. If you’re really feeling put out, maybe you could suggest to the HR department that the dress code be clarified so as to avoid further confusion in the future.

  19. A few thoughts…I am all about freedom of expression and civil liberties. I, however, work in a school where anything goes. There is no professional dress code. Teachers wear everything from swishy pants to crappy hoodies. I have noticed where this affects both teacher and student behavior. This having been said, I have come to believe in a professional dress code, both for oneself and for others.

    Specific to your situation, though…It seems you were targeted. Has anyone else been approached about political shirts? If it isn’t a stated policy, I really wouldn’t worry too much about it. Depending on the level of professionalism in your workplace, not wearing a political shirt may just be a good idea for everyone. I tend to think shirts with any kind of print should be left for after work, but that’s just me speaking from the environment I currently work in.

  20. Okay, time to put my HR hat on. šŸ˜‰
    Often a company will say in their dress code, “No tee shirts with logos” to avoid this issue. That eliminates any text that may offend anyone in any capacity.
    Personally, I don’t think such a shirt is appropriate for work, ESPECIALLY since this election has become so volatile, BUT I know things work a little differently in non profit. The last place I worked, a large non profit, included a LOT of people who said, “Have a blessed day!” in their voicemail message. That irritated me to no end, but HR never said boo about it. At the same time, a friend of mine got busted for brandishing a banana at someone in a “play laser gun” sort of way which I thought was just silly.
    Bottom line–if others have not been admonished for the same action, that is very unfair and you should speak up. Regardless of the tee shirt itself, policies should be enforced across the board. Check your employee manual real quick if you haven’t already to see if there is anything in the dress code that addresses the logo tee or something similar before approaching anyone. Always good to have your facts. šŸ™‚

  21. Oops, I meant doublecheck your employee manual to see if there’s any reference to dress code. If you have a manual. And a dress code. If not, your organization is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

  22. I think that is BS. I too work for a company with a very laid back dress code and although my boss (who is a Republican) wouldn’t love it if I showed up in an Obama shirt, he would never ask me to change it. People can get more inflamed talking about the latest headlines or what they watched on the nightly news. Seems like a t-shirt really isn’t going to launch some all-out cubicle war. Whatever…if they’re going to institute that policy, they need to tell everyone. Make sure you speak up next time someone else has a shirt on and ask why they are allowed to wear one and you are not.

  23. No, that’s not offensive! It’s a statement of fact, this is who I support.

    Maybe the guy just doesn’t want people to start sparring over politics at work? That’s the only thing I can think of as to WHY you would be asked not to wear a political shirt.

  24. Someone came in here wearing an Obama shirt. I wasn’t offended. It really seemed like the person was stating an opinion, nothing more. If the shirt was like, a naked Obama and McCain doing each other, yeah, that might be offensive. But it seems pretty neutral to me.

  25. I have a coworker with an Obama sticker hanging in her cubicle, and while I totally respect her right to hang it up, I would never do that, because a lot of our coworkers don’t support him, and you have to work with people and collaborate with them whether or not you agree with their politics, and politics can get so personal. I wouldn’t wear a political shirt to work for the same reason. My company has a policy against graphic shirts of all kinds, so it’s a blanket rule and irrelevant to me anyway.

    I would be bothered by the part where other people wore political shirts and did not get spoken to, though. Everyone should be subject to the same policy, official or not.

  26. Ooh, this kind of makes my blood boil. I have worked in local non-profits for most of my working life. To the best of my recollection the most that any policy of any of the organizations that I have worked for has said is that if, for example, we were to allow our space to be used for any political reason (like a speaking engagement after hours, etc.) that we could not allow only one political party to do so, we had to allow all political parties the same opportunity (or at least not turn down a request by a member of one political party to rent space while accepting the request of another).

    The issue here is the dress code, or lack of one, and the attempt to create one on the spot for one employee, when other employees dressing in a similar manner have had a completely different experience. Your employer, and that authority figure specifically, is treading on thin ice. Since you were not in violation of any current company policy, you cannot be treated differently than other employees behaving the same way. If the organization wants to make political t-shirts, etc. off-limits in the office they need to create a policy that says so and apply it consistently to everyone. Targeting one employee for a behavior that is not against company policy despite having set a precedent by allowing other employees to behave in the same manner is just opening a gigantic can of worms.

  27. My workplace is anti anything political and they specifically send out emails stating that. I think it’s different if there is no policy and quite strange that you were singled out…but come on Sizz…the only reason he picked on you and your shirt is because your boobage drew him in. You made that shirt look damn fine and he was jealous!

  28. I don’t know – I know it wouldn’t fly at my office for a couple reasons.

    1) It’s a t-shirt
    2) We’re also a non-profit ( a 501(c)6) BUT we’re funded by the county – so, big no-no

  29. As you know, you and I are kind of in the same boat, organizationally speaking. In my office, there is also no dress code (of any kind), but I can’t imagine that anyone would say something about a political t-shirt. Then again, I live in San Francisco, where everyone has essentially the same political views. If I were in your situation, I would probably point out that there is no written dress code, and that a code needs to be created if there is an issue.

  30. I wouldn’t be offended – I would be happy people are taking an interest in politics! But it WOULD NOT prompt me to discuss politics. NO WAY.

    Maybe the person of prominence was letting it go before, but now will be saying that to everyone wearing a political shirt?

  31. Been there! Done that! I am the assistant to the CIO and my dept is able to dress down all week. Other depts are not able. I wore a mickey mouse(literally) and was told to save it for Fridays. I wanted to tell the CIO that just that day another member of my dept was wearing a “Punisher” t-shirt. Pissed me off because the CIO is a female and has a very superior attitude especially to other women. I guess she feels threatened (eye rolls). I would not find the Obama shirt offensive at all. My first reaction would be point fingers at the other offenders, slap mgmt upside the head and if all else fails…I would then fall to the floor and pitch a fit but that does not bode well in a work place. I agree if mgmt corrects one person, they damn well better correct them all. I guess it’d be easier to let it roll off your back and take the high road. Move on. At least you get wine at work. =D

  32. Hmm this is something that I just can’t imagine happening over here. We elect a Prime Minister but our head of state is a Monarch – I can’t imagine people wearing shirts with Gordon (yawn) Brown on!
    So, your place? Well I think it’s unfair that policy *suddenly* changed. I would have smiled sweetly and said okay, fair enough, but perhaps “management” should make sure to let EVERYONE know that “policy has changed”. Surely as the election drawers ever closer, the chances of others wearing “unsuitable-for-work” clothing could happen again. It would be a crying shame for “management” to have to continue singling people out now that they have started this, huh? ;o)

  33. That’s ridiculous. I’m not voting for Obama but I could care less if you want to wear a t-shirt that has his name on it. If there is no policy, then what’s the big deal? Someone probably complained and that’s why he asked you to not wear it anymore.

    When I lived in my townhouse during the last election, I had a “W stands for Women” political sign in my kitchen window. It was inside my house, not in my yard even. I had one neighbor complain and throw a fit. I knew who she was and she drove me nuts on so many levels. So, I promptly removed the sign from my window and put it in my car. Then, we parked our car in front of her house so that she had to see if every time she went in and out of her house.

    No, I’m not passive-aggressive at all. My point is, my sign wasn’t hurting her and your t-shirt isn’t hurting anyone either.

    Not at all cool.

  34. I tweeted all my views on this but reading this made me all riled up again and now I have to share my view.

    You’re shirt is not pornographic. It does not put down any person, group or affiliation with inflammatory or insulting language or pictures. It does not demean a gender, race or cultural ethnicity.

    Being told that it might ‘offend’ people is offensive. And I question the motivation of anyone who finds it offensive. Showing which political party you believe in by wearing a t-shirt of a candidate that half the nation supports isn’t out of line. Implying to that it might be- is.

  35. It would not offend me, but it might if it had a picture of Bush on it :-). I think since there is NO dress code, you were safe in wearing it, and that the person who spoke to you about it has their own personal views on this matter, perhaps they did not see the other t-shirts. Singled out? I just don’t know, only you can answer that question.

  36. It is not right to target one person. People who are offended by political opinions are too sensitive and shouldn’t be provided special rules to protect their sensitivity.

    I really cannot speak for your workplace, but I think, in general, Seattle workplaces are a little too casual. I don’t come to work in suit and heels, but I do try to dress professionally (i.e., my weekend wear is not my day wear).

    That said, if your workplace IS casual and other message printed t-shirts have been worn by employees at your same level, I think you were singled out.

  37. I think that this political season is really charged, because people are thinking about their empty wallets, expensive groceries, and unemployment with war hanging over us and desperate for a change one way or another, and they’re OVER reacting to the political climate.

    It’s not you, and it’s not fair to be solely targeted (perhaps other people are being told discretely as well?) I think as a boss I would want the politics on clothing to stay out of the office, but simply because I have seen people do the most asinine things lately (almost fist-blows over a discussion at a park, for example.)

    I think you should go all passive aggressive on it šŸ˜‰ I think you should approach the person who approached you and say “you know, now that you have told me how you feel about the political expression at work, I can understand your position. I really think it was a good idea to try and limit something like that, and as I have noticed I am not the only one – I really think it would be helpful if YOU put the word out publicly so everyone is clear, and there aren’t any misunderstandings, or anyone feeling as though they were singled out.”


  38. If you are bothered by it, talk to your manager or HR. Don’t bring it back up with the guy who brought it up to you. It doesn’t sound like the guy was being an asshole. And, I agree that it might just have been because there were outside people there.

  39. I am going to go with “hell no” it’s not okay to target someone. I dislike when people get into hugely loud political discussions at work, but buttons, shirts, etc. I don’t care at all. No one else does either. One of my co-workers in fact worked in the Obama campaign and had shit ALL OVER her desk and no one said a word. I prefer it that way.

  40. I would not be offended if I saw a pro-McCain shirt, and I would request that a mandate be made corporate-wide that prohibits political shirts if yours, which sounds innocuous, is prohibited. That’s ridiculous.

  41. Okay, I see your point on this one. However, the flip side of the coin has to be taken into consideration.

    I worked for a place where this guy plastered his cubicle walls with biblical quotes. It made me it uncomfortable to talk with him. I guess it can make for awkward office banter, heck it made for an awkward comment on my behalf.

    *done playing the role of devil’s advocate

  42. Does this person who spoke to you know that you are looking for employment elsewhere?

    I’m just saying … that might be the real source of their chit-chat with you.

    Just a thought.

  43. As I’ve already mentioned to you, I don’t have a problem with a no-political-t-shirt policy. But if you are feeling singled out, and are still bothered by this a few days later, can you bring it up to someone and mention that you felt singled out?

  44. If it was my boss wearing the pro-McCain shirt, knowing how vehemently she supports him (she was at the RNC as a delegate), I would be offended. And the same goes for prObama (I’m copyrighting that!) people, too. Nothing ignites in this world like politics. Okay, maybe religion and American Idol, but you get my point. I wouldn’t want to see any of it at work and agree with the comment that it shouldn’t be worn.

    But considering that you’ve seen others wear similar shirts and not be reprimanded does make it a different situation entirely. Either there’s some discrimination going on or the complainer is not particularly observant.

  45. My new boss keeps a Bible and several other books on his desk. They are his, he does not read them to us, nor do we discuss them. And, there is no policy against keeping Bibles on your desk in plain view or otherwise. So, he can.
    The same should go for a shirt.

  46. I’ve had people swear at me, flip me off, and do all sorts of rude things – with my kids in the car – because I have a sticker on my car endorsing the governor (a Republican) of this state.

    I just figure it goes both ways. I’ve seen people wear Obama shirts and have Obama stickers on cars, but I don’t pick fights with them nor try and drive them off the road.

    I think what you need to question is the consistency of how that ‘policy’ is applied, and respond to the guy who said it to you. I just know in this day and age (I spend today reviewing and re-writing our harassment and discrimination policies) people are extremely sensitive because ultimately, the finger points in the direction of leadership to where the blame (in the event of a lawsuit) will lay.

  47. I personally feel that keeping politics and religion out of the workplace is a good idea. However, singling you out for your attire, if such clothing is not expressly mentioned in the dress code as inappropriate, is not okay. (BTW, up here in Canada, most of us are hoping for an Obama victory).

  48. i think if you work in a place that laid back than it should be okay to wear whatever kind of shirt you want. people here wear obama shirts and it is perfectly okay and i don’t see why it would be a problem. people have their political preferences and want to show it, it’s the same as wearing a band’s t-shirt, you love the band you support them, you like a candidate you support them, plain and simple.

  49. Hey Sizzle..I know you comment regularly the Quarterlife blog.. she is my daughter and needs some words of encouragement right now and I am wondering if you can direct some of your blogger friends her way.. re: her latest entry. You’ll see my comment on her blog asking for emotional blogger support. She really needs it right now. Can you help?

  50. If your company really has never had a policy against it, then they technically don’t have the right to ask you to change your clothes.

    But I’m a little shocked they don’t have a policy about political clothing and political expression in general, especially since they’re a nonprofit.

    I also work at a nonprofit and they have very strict rules about political expression specifically *because* we’re a nonprofit. Funding and other legal issues can be messed up if there’s any indication (even incorrect, accidental indications) that an employee is speaking for the company in support of any political party. So I’m surprised your company has never created a policy.

    And every place I’ve ever worked, even for-profit places, has had a policy against wearing political paraphernalia, so I’d not be surprised at all if someone objected to it. Some offices will say you can decorate your own personal space in the office with “acceptable” (read, small) political or religious stuff, but outside of where you sit, you can’t walk it around with you, or put it anywhere else in the office (no candidate literature in the lunchrooms, etc.). Which would rule out T-shirts.

    I’m an Obama supporter, but I have to say I don’t necessarily disagree with the above policy. Your t-shirt wouldn’t have bothered me, but If someone walked around with a McCain t-shirt all day, I’d be annoyed, and want them to stop “advertising”/”campaigning” in the office. So if I don’t want the other side to do it, I guess I can’t say it’s okay for my side to do it. I think in general it’s best to avoid making the office a political minefield. (I know it wasn’t your INTENT to do that, but it technically *could* be viewed as such by others.)

  51. I would be pissed, especially xonsidering that your office has a relazed dress code; I mean, is it a SECRET that Obama is running for president? And that people support him? Obviously not. So I’m confused as to how a t-shirt with his likeness could offend anyone. A Hitler tee, sure. A shirt with an expletive, or a picture of boobs, or something? Of course! But a presidential candidate? I’m completely at a loss here.

  52. I’d have to say that I really don’t think it had anything at all to do with the fact that it was an Obama t-shirt. I believe it was more about the slogan “Power to the People” and the radical connotations it brings to mind, images of the era of the Black Panthers and such, that folks could and probably would find offensive much quicker than any other Obama supporting t-shirt. Just my opinion. I personally think you should top off your next Obama t-shirt with an official Obama campaign tie…you would be stylin’ then Girl!!

  53. I agree with you, especially if you are the only one singled out. A bit odd. But, I’ve noticed lately that there are a ton of training notices coming out of your place of employment being sent around… particularly from the state, which is decidedly non political. But if it was due to the training, then say that and put a training dress code in place… but really does this stuff ever get done at NP’s? And really, a bunch of social worky people are going to be more offended by a McCain shirt than Obama.

  54. You know what? I think you are employing the classic “*I* don’t see what’s offensive about my [t-shirt/racist joke/sexist comment], and other people thought it was [funny/no big deal], so anybody who is offended is a giant nimrod!” rationale. Many of your friends here do seem to take your side – bad boss! Totally inappropriate! Since no one has personally told you they’re offended, it’s no big deal. And anyway, *as far as you know,* nobody else has been reprimanded, so again, totally unfair!

    Well, I’ve been the “giant nimrod” [what you might call a minority] in a work situation once, also about politics. It’s hugely uncomfortable. It’s also next to impossible to discuss it with the “offender,” especially if that person is in the majority in the office, as it sounds like you are. Try, for 30 seconds, to place yourself in the position of someone who is not you. Or, just imagine that the way you’re feeling now is the very same way that someone felt when they saw your Obama shirt today. I doubt you’d knowingly put someone through that.

    The fact that the discussion of the day was about the way the brain does or doesn’t learn when stressed, and that you did not make the connection that those offended by your Obama t-shirt might be adversely affected during that very lecture, just adds to the deliciousness of the irony of your sense of persecution.

    I hope, in spite of my slight snark, you consider empathizing with the position of the minority, especially as the Obama campaign needs every vote it can get in November – it can NOT be close enough to steal this time.

  55. I personally feel that there are entirely too many overly-sensitive people in this world.

    This person apparently took it upon themselves to put forth their ‘viewpoints’ and if it were me, I would continue to wear them as long as I saw others doing the same.

    Until someone says the magic phrase ‘You can lose your job because of this’, it’s within reason for you to continue wearing them.

  56. I think it is so typical of the way the US works. Let’s all bang on the drums of freedom of this and freedom of that, including freedom of speech and let’s condemn other countries for not having those same freedoms. But what really gets me is that as soon as someone doesn’t like what is said, for whatever reason, valid or not, that right is taken away to some extent – and where will it ultimately end? I was back in the US for work several years after moving away and paid a female colleague an innocent compliment – fortunately she is one of my closest friends – and she pulled me aside and told me I can’t say she looks nice in the office because someone could see it as being a sexually intimidating comment. I could not believe it. It wasn’t like I commented on her breasts, I just liked what she was wearing – And it turned out that someone did actually complain about the comment. The fact is, no matter what is said or believed, no matter how trivial or inconsequential, there is someone out there who will be uncomfortable or even offended. If a company wants to keep politics, religion or other sensitive issues out of the workplace, (something that has both pros and cons) I have no issue with that, but then they should make it a policy and not make it up as they go along.

  57. That is strange. Why only target you? And who would honestly be offended by a t-shirt like that? Surely they’d be pleased that someone actually cares enough about politics.

  58. I would not be offended by a t-shirt showing support for either candidate but not everybody feels that way.

    Since the PP (person of prominence) indicated that the shirt could create a hostile work environment, it makes me wonder if someone commented on your shirt in a way the PP perceived as a complaint. If the PP received or perceived a complaint, addressing it with you was simply a risk management move. I don’t think it’s a personal issue or that you were targeted. It’s just part of the joy of managing people in a litigious society.

  59. I’m in the, it’s inappropriate for work camp. IMO, political and religious things are personal and should stay at home and not be brought to work. Not because someone might get offended, I just think since it has nothing to do with work it doesn’t belong there.

    However, I also think it’s inappropriate to single out one person. That isn’t fair. If they feel this way then like someone else mentioned, a policy should be made addressing this matter.

    I’m sorry you got singled out, because had the same thing happened to me, I would be flaming pissed also.

  60. @ fixie- (Since you didn’t give a valid email address- I cannot reply back to you as I did every other comment. . .)

    I am not sure if you are new to my blog or if this is the first post of mine that you are reading but I am actually an overly empathetic person. When I put the shirt on that morning I did hesitate for a minute before putting it on wondering if it was kosher. And yes, I wore it thinking that based on the conversations I had been having with my coworkers over politics that it would be an accepted shirt to wear in my work environment. Also, given that there is no dress code at my work, I didn’t actually think it was a no-no.

    I asked the question on my blog to honestly hear from both sides. I’m a bit put off by your snark, yes, because you seem to assume I have not given both sides a thought. Of course I have! It’s a very short blog post wherein I do not go into every nuance. Please be careful not assume things about a person based on one post as I will, from here on out, be more careful about how I carry my politics into the work place. I am not against a policy that states no political shirts at work. I am more annoyed that my work place consistently calls individual people out about dress code “violations” when they have no formal dress code written anywhere.


  61. We avoid politics and religion too, although it’s hard when 97% of the office are liberals. However, ALL people should be asked not to wear political t-shirts, if one person is asked not too. And if they call people out, they should have a written policy.

  62. I think the t-shirts are like yard signs. Yard signs don’t offend me…they just let me know how that house leans. As would the t-shirt. And like the others said, I could definitely understand you feeling put off by the commentary from the person of prominence, since you were seemingly singled-out. But maybe it was because of the presence of the outsiders? That’s all I can figure. Were the people who wore the t-shirts on other days not spoken to because the office didn’t have visitors, maybe? I’m sorry that person made you question your appropriateness! You know me…I’m a Republican, but I couldn’t care less if you wore a t-shirt in support of Obama in my presence. People are weird…

  63. This sort of thing is just an overt indication of the lack of respect that is endemic in public discourse these days. People on opposite sides of an issue or politician should be able to discuss or not their issue or differences without forcing it into an Us Or Them proposition.

    Karl Rove has a lot to answer for, and so do the other politicians on both sides who insist on portraying things in this fashion.

  64. I think that guy is a big fat gooberhead. And I would definitely be talking to someone about whether he even has the authority to ask that, and possibly to him about whether the other, less obvious shirts are a problem for him. But yeah. Gooberhead.

  65. Personally I wouldn’t be offended regardless of if we shared the same view. I would be pleased to see people getting involved and showing support for a candidate in the upcoming election. It’s so rare that people actually research the stance of candidates and form a choice.

  66. Thoughts? Go talk to the person in authority, or to someone, about the situation. Explain how you were made to feel. Explain that if it isn’t a written policy, why were you made to feel like you were in the wrong. Make them explain why this happened. I suppose it’s possible that, despite the shared political leanings of you and the person, they speak only for themselves and not the company. Whatever you do, don’t let it slide. It’s not right for them to chastise you but not others.

    Power to the People–>Go stick up for yourself! Just be polite about it. Raving Bitch only gets a person so far, sadly.

  67. A golden rule of thumb: never wear t-shirts with any kind of writing or pictures that may offend “anyone” in a work place environment. Period. Because there will be that ONE annoying person who will be put off. Unless you work at Kinko’s and your company name is embroidered on the area above your boob.

  68. Im sorry I dont have much more to say here that hasn’t already been said. I would be inclined to wear a shirt the next day for the exact opposite candidate to really screw with the head honcho’s mind! ack. no I wouldn’t, but it would be a little funny. All in all people are stupid no?

  69. There is something about combining “power to the people” with a specific candidate that comes across as a political statement to me and would probably not be something I’d wear to work though I’m not necessarily offended by it (I’m an undecided). That said, the policy should apply to everyone, not just one individual.

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