*** The democratic right to protest and how people choose to use their volunteer days ***

We had a super interesting conversation yesterday with an organisation that told us back in 2020 they had considered putting in place a policy that would give all employees a day off from work to attend a protest.

In the end they didn’t do it. But over the last 3 years they’ve been considering how they would have felt if an employee had attended a protest for a cause that the SLT didn’t agree with.

🎇 Could they limit the policy to only allow people to attend certain protests?
🎇 Or seek approval first?

They believe they’ve dodged a bullet by not implementing the policy.

And they probably have, because limiting people in that way could be seen as contravening a person’s right to:

🎇 Freedom of Assembly and Association
🎇 Maybe their right to Freedom of Expression too

Or equally they could have been very bold and said they were allowing people to exercise their rights on company time. And that these rights should be respected, no matter which cause they support.

Reading this you might think this is too tricky a subject for an organisation to touch.

But the risk already exists…

Many companies give employees time off to volunteer at charities.

🎇 And if they choose to volunteer for a charitable cause you personally disagree with you can’t justifiably do anything about it.

As always with these sorts of situations it’s essential to get legal advice before you implement any controversial/ground-breaking company policies. (Not that volunteer day policies are inherently controversial or even ground-breaking!)

This conversation has been coming up in light of the Israel Hamas War. If you need support in handling this subject at work you can access our EDI Support Guide here.