Business

CEOs discuss how to deal with extreme views in the workplace

This week’s question to South Florida CEOs who are on the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable: What would you do if one of your employees began espousing extreme views in the workplace?

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Unfortunately, there is not much that an employer can do if an employee promotes extreme views within the workplace, if they are not upsetting the other employees. The only way that disciplinary action can be taken is if the employee has exhibited poor job performance, harasses others or creates a hostile work environment. Fortunately, I have not had any incidents of employees’ disturbing the workplace with radical views over the years.

Margaret “Peggy” Bass, executive director, Good Hope Equestrian Training Center

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Carrfour is a workplace where professionals from diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives come together on behalf of a common purpose: ending homelessness. We respect that team members have a wide range of personal views on the issues they consider most important. That rich tapestry is a reflection of the residents and communities we serve. Our workplace, however, is highly focused on our individual and collective efforts to end homelessness — one person, one family, at a time; it’s where we come together to advance the agency’s mission. We’re fortunate to live in a community where there are many places for people to get involved on behalf of the views they consider important.

Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg, president, CEO, Carrfour Supportive Housing

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Our style is to deal with things head on and so our first course of action would be to have a discussion with the individual. From there, we would create a personalized plan to address the issue and would set a real deadline to ensure the problem is dealt with in a timely manner. We support and value free speech, but never when it causes a negative impact on the rest of the team.

Michael A. Comras, president, The Comras Company of Florida

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If an employee begins adopting extreme views in the workplace, we would immediately document the behavior with our human resources department, develop a monitoring plan for the employee and schedule a 30-60-90 day follow-up plan. We would meet with the employee and try to better understand how we can customize a support plan for him/her.

Jose R. Costa, CEO, For Eyes

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Gastro Health does not discriminate in our hiring practices. We are an equal opportunity employer. Granted, per our company policy, employees are not allowed to discuss or advertise their political or religious views in the workplace, including in personal break areas and break times. Complaints of these matters will result in a discussion with the employee and may lead to disciplinary action up to termination if corrective action is not taken.

Alejandro Fernandez, CEO, Gastro Health

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One of our organizational values is to respect each other, understanding that we all have different points of views. If for some reason, we were to have someone with extreme views that may be offending coworkers, we would take this very seriously and have a one-on-one meeting with the employee, asking them to be conscious of their views during working hours. We will monitor the behavior to make sure that the employee is responding appropriately.

Willie Logan, founder, CEO and president, Opa-locka Community Development Corp.

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That would go against company core values and we would start with a discussion, and could end with termination. If the views were violent in anyway and we had concerns for public and employee safety, we would consult with local law enforcement.

Raymond Mobayed, owner, 4IT Inc.

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All employees adhere to a stringent code of conduct. We are in the hospitality industry where we serve guests with optimal guest experience and therefore there’s no opportunity to demonstrate extreme views. If employees feel strongly about a topic that is relevant to our environment, we offer a monthly platform where departments can express their views, challenges and concerns. It’s an open forum, and employees are encouraged to share their perspective in a team setting.

Gene Prescott, president and CEO, Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables

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We foster a workplace culture of mutual trust, respect, fairness, and teamwork. We expect employees to treat each other, our audience, community, customers, and business partners with dignity and respect. If there are incidents where behavior is not consistent with our Code of Conduct or company policies, we have various internal Univision Listens channels where employees can express concern about a co-worker’s behavior or other work-related concerns confidentially.

Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president, Univision Deportes

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If an employee were to start saying things or acting in a manner that was divisive or discriminatory in any way, we would immediately have a one-on-one conversation to determine the source of the issue and/or behavior. From there, we’d continue to work with the employee to ensure the situation is resolved; however, any further outbursts would be dealt with seriously. We pride ourselves in providing our employees a safe and productive work environment, and any conduct that compromises that corporate culture is unacceptable and would be addressed with adequate consequences.

Carlos Rosso, president, The Related Group’s Condominium division

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I would suggest to plead with them to better understand their views and reasons. However, if it is an extreme case, we would call the authorities, as our goal is to protect everyone in our workplace. You cannot take any chances today.

Stan Rudman, CMO and owner, Sportailor Inc.

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We encourage and welcome a wide range of views, but what we don’t tolerate is language that threatens, offends or harasses others. If the employee espoused views that fell into the latter category, we have a zero-tolerance policy and strict procedure in place to address it.

Kim Stone, general manager and EVP, AmericanAirlines Arena

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We welcome all views. As an example, a few employees expressed concern about a vintage poster in one of our offices, so we took it down. As the largest black-owned bank in the country, we support social justice movements, which some people may view as extreme views. We respectfully disagree, but welcome their feedback. We only require everyone to be respectful.

Teri Williams, president, CEO and a director, OneUnited Bank

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We work in a very collaborative and creative team environment. We would speak with the employee about keeping his/her extreme views to him/herself and, after a warning, would be grounds for termination.

Bernard Zyscovich, founder and CEO of Zyscovich Architects

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