New research shows that 1 in 5 American workers have been treated poorly in the workplace by co-workers or peers because of their political views. The study from Human Resource Management Company (SHRM) shows an increase in political discussions and political volatility in the workplace following the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 presidential election.

SHRM found that 24% of 504 U.S. workers surveyed in late August personally experienced bias of political affiliation — including preferential treatment or undue negative treatment based on their political positions or opinions — up from 12% in 2019. Additionally, 20% of HR professionals say there has been greater political volatility at work over the same period.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a real decline in civility when people voice their opinions and beliefs, and that’s a barrier to success for employers and their employees,” says SHRM’s President and CEO. Johnny C. Taylor Jr. “This trend has been fueled by the relative anonymity of social media, and it has spilled over into our communities and workplaces. In today’s climate, people say, “I can’t work with you if you don’t share my views. It’s a problem HR professionals and business leaders can’t ignore.

Two-thirds of American workers (66%) say that employees of their organizations include the different political perspectives of other employees, but moderate (73%) and liberal (70%) workers are more likely than conservative (60%) workers ) to say like that. Additionally, although most workers believe their organizations are inclusive, supervisors are 10% more likely to be hesitant to hire a candidate who has disclosed having extremely conservative beliefs (30%) than a candidate who has disclosed having extremely liberal beliefs (20%). %). Compounding the problem, just 8% of organizations in a separate survey of 1,525 HR professionals communicated guidance to employees regarding workplace political discussions leading up to the 2022 midterm elections.