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The impact of Cancel Culture🚫 in the workplace

The first question you may ask is, “What is ‘cancel culture’?” Cancel culture, also known as “call-out culture,” is the idea that any person, company, or organization that voices an opinion that opposes popular belief needs to be "cancelled," whether that be through boycotting a company/organization, or publicly shaming the person/company/organization on Social Media and other various outlets. The goal of this "cancel culture" is to give a bad reputation to the one who voiced an opinion that is considered offensive. "How does this affect my workplace?" It is not unheard of for companies to be major news headlines for something that an employee tweeted, or made a comment in an interview that gets misinterpreted. While this scenario may never happen, it is important to be aware of the possibility and to have an HR action plan, along with a proper PR approach. A recent horror story that we tackled occurred when an employee commented on a LinkedIn post regarding a non-work related item. Another LinkedIn user then got involved in what started as a respectful conversation but soon turned into a heated debate that resulted in the LinkedIn user contacting the employee's HR department demanding the employee to be fired. Furthermore, this user threatened to call media outlets to expose the company and its Board of Directors for supporting the employee’s belief if this employee is not terminated.

“Pragmatically, it is near-on impossible to completely avoid causing offense to someone, somewhere in an online world that often appears to delight in seeking out something to be offended by. So it’s vital for a brand to have a plan for what it will do when, one day, the inevitable happens.” -Emma Monks, VP of crisis intelligence at online crisis monitoring firm Crisp.

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