Not safe for work! Sex, Politics and Religion

Taylor Ploeger, Managing Editor

Sex, politics and religion.

     These topics are the universal confrontation starters that people are advised to avoid when talking with coworkers or strangers.

     And yet, internet fights and workplace standoffs occur every day due to people’s disregard for the seriousness of these topics and their insensitivity towards people who hold different opinions than their own.

     Of course it’s understandable that people want to be friendly with their coworkers and discuss something other than their jobs. But too often lines are crossed, causing hurt feelings and in some cases legal action.

     So below are topics to avoid when at work to help maintain a peaceful environment.

Risky jokes

     Not everyone has the same sense of humor. This is surprising to hear for some people who think that everything they say is hilarious to everyone they say it to. Jokes about race, religion, sex, political standing and even appearances should be avoided as they can be really offensive.

     It’s important to remember that it is not someone’s job to not be offended. It is the joke teller’s job not to offend.

     Telling someone they are too sensitive isn’t a great idea either. While one person may think brash jokes are funny someone else may find subtle humor more agreeable. It’s ok for everyone to have differing sensibilities.

     What’s not ok is blaming the offended person for not understanding the joke.


     One should never gossip with coworkers about other coworkers. It will almost always find a way back to the person and start an argument.
If one feels to need to discuss their coworker’s with someone they should do it with their friends and family. Not with other people in the work environment.

     It’s perfectly ok to tell a significant other or a close friend about how So And So doesn’t pull her weight at work or how What’s His Name is so dumb he can’t figure out how to do that thing he’s been shown 20 times.

     But don’t talk to a fellow employee about it because all that will do is land an uncomfortable conversation with the supervisor.

Sex and Sexuality

     Not everyone has the same stance on sex and sexuality and talking about this subject may start a political disagreement that has no place in the workspace. Talking about sex can also be seen as sexual harassment.

     Sex in general should be seen as a private topic. No one needs to know about what goes on behind closed doors. Or even what one’s preferences are. It’s a topic that can make people feel extremely uncomfortable.

     One’s triumphs, desires and dreams should not be talked about with coworkers. These should be saved for conversations with close friends.


     Politics are always a hot topic. Discussing politics can create a hostile environment that doesn’t do anyone any good. A political stance has no place in the workplace and in today’s extremely polarized society may end up ostracizing the two parties at war.

     Discussing politics can make coworkers feel attacked or unheard and one doesn’t gain anything from the experience. The more a person is persuaded about a topic the more they hold onto their stance, it’s a psychological phenomenon.

     Since these discussions can only cause harm, unless they are held in a civil and non-offensive manner, it’s best to leave one’s political stance at the door.


     The workplace is not the space to get into theological discussions. For those who practice, religion is a very large part of their lives and can be a particularly soft spot.

     Many who practice a religion do so quietly. So, one may not know if there is a person in the room who they could be seriously hurting. There are so many different religions and a majority of them are of a peaceful persuasion that don’t deserve the ridicule they often receive from those who don’t understand the practice.

     Religion can be such an integral part of someone’s identity that it’s best to just avoid the topic in the workplace to maintain an environment that is sensitive to everyone’s needs.

     Obviously, the best advice that could be given would be to learn how to have a decent conversation with people who are different from yourself.
But since that has fallen by the wayside, let’s listen to the words of wisdom our kindergarten teachers gave us; if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Taylor is a senior Mass Communications major. She is a Managing  Editor for The Voice.