Political Activities: An Election Year Reminder

In light of upcoming elections, the Office of Human Resources sends a friendly reminder regarding election activity in the workplace.

Oregon law prohibits the use of public funds, equipment, and supplies to advocate for or against a ballot measure or candidate and restricts what public employees (which include University of Oregon employees) may do in support of or opposition to a ballot measure or candidate.

Public employees on their work time may NOT:

  • collect funds, distribute campaign materials, or prepare correspondence on behalf of a political committee, ballot measure, or candidate;
  • produce, copy, or distribute documents that advocate for or against a ballot measure or a candidate;
  • post website information, transmit emails, or make a presentation that advocates for or against a ballot measure or candidate;
  • make outgoing calls to schedule or organize campaign events or other activity that advocates for or against a ballot measure or candidate;
  • encourage others to volunteer for a partisan political committee or efforts related to a candidate or ballot measure;
  • place posters that advocate for or against a ballot measure or candidate in a public work space or facing out on doors or windows;
  • distribute flyers that advocate for or against a ballot measure or candidate.

Public employees MAY:

  • engage in non-partisan activities that promote political participation, such as voter registration drives;
  • express their views on issues facing our community that are not on the ballot;
  • use personal time, lunch hours, breaks, and days off for partisan political activity;
  • express personal political views;
  • wear campaign buttons at work;
  • provide balanced, objective information on ballot measures;
  • impartially advise other public employees about possible effects of a ballot measure;
  • use personal time and personal equipment to write letters in their personal capacity expressing an opinion on a ballot measure or candidate.

Refer to university policy is available on the Political Activities Notice webpage in the HR website.  For further clarification or questions, please contact HR at 541-346-3159.

Peaceful Protests

The University of Oregon fully supports the legally protected right to peaceful protest. In fact, peaceful protest has been a force for positive social change around the nation and on this campus in the past.

If you choose to participate in lawful protests, please be aware of your personal safety and the safety of others. Continue to follow health and safety practices to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Do not participate if you have COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19 or have recently been exposed to COVID-19. Should a peaceful or law-abiding protest escalate to violence or criminal activity, seek personal safety and contact law enforcement.

Respect in the Workplace

The The social and political climate may be an additional source of anxiety and disagreement for many people. As President Schill said in a recent message, our community is not politically homogenous, and it is okay for people to have differing opinions. Please remember the University of Oregon’s values of respecting others, seeking truth and understanding, and rationally weighing ideas and facts.

Canopy, our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider, offers a few basic rules for promoting respect and communicating about differences in the workplace:

  • Avoid rushing to judgments.
  • Recognize when your own biases and stereotypes are influencing how you interact with others.
  • Avoid thinking in an “us” and “them” way that promotes tension in the workplace.
  • Be sensitive to religious, cultural, racial and social backgrounds of your coworkers.
  • Avoid casual language that includes slang or jokes that are offensive.

Additional resources are available for benefits-eligible employees through the Canopy Member Site. Visit the EAP website to learn how to create a member account. Resources include:

  • Managing Election Stress
  • Managing Political Anxiety
  • Managing Disagreement
  • Voting Resources
  • Resources for Managers and Supervisors

Benefits-eligible employees can get confidential support through the EAP to help when struggling in interactions with co-workers or people in their personal life: