Social, political, and identity-based conflicts are obviously detrimental to the orderly and productive operation of a workplace. Contrary to popular belief, employees have no legal entitlement to express their personal opinions at work. Yet, employees are increasingly vocal in expressing opinions about how their employer should be addressing social and public health-related issues. Many employees have refused to be vaccinated or heed other public health precautions, such as physical distancing and mask-wearing, leading to fierce arguments and occasionally even physical conflicts between coworkers. Such disputes are deleterious to productivity as are other, increasingly common, social and political workplace disagreements.
It is common now for coworkers to accuse each other of being irresponsible for conducting what were once trivial diversions, such as attending a restaurant or flying out of the country for family vacations. Most recently, the advent of “vaccine passports” has created further rifts, separating those who may fully participate in society, by business travel or even attending a bar or restaurant, from those not permitted to do so based on their vaccination status.