In an effort to prevent employees from being fired based on their boss’s political beliefs, many companies are now requiring employees to sign up for a free annual “examiner” course before they can take a question.
In a new survey from a company called Hacking Team, almost a quarter of employees said they were worried about having their boss fire them for questioning their boss.
A survey of 500 employees by the company, which is focused on automation, found that 83% said they would be willing to work with a company to avoid firing their boss over political views.
The survey also found that only 28% of those surveyed said they’d be willing not to work for a company if they were fired because of political views, but that’s up from 22% in 2015.
“People will take risks,” said Michael Schmitt, who oversees Hacking Teams automation research and has conducted research on the topic for the past several years.
“You have to be willing and able to make those sacrifices.”
Hacking team’s survey also included responses from more than 2,000 current and former Hacking teams employees.
They were asked how much they were willing to pay to avoid a firing.
The average price tag for a course was $100,000, which Schmitt said was “substantially less than the cost of the course itself.”
“It’s a really good deal,” he said.
The question also asked employees if they would hire a different employee if their boss fired them for criticizing their boss based on political views — and it found that more than half of those who said they wouldn’t hire the same employee over a political comment did so.
“This is a real risk-free way to do your job, because you are not fired,” Schmitt told ABC News.
The firm’s survey found that nearly 40% of employees who would hire the new employee said they already had a policy against political comments.
The company says that while it’s hard to quantify the amount of money a company would lose by firing a person for making a political statement, it estimates that a company could lose $100 million to $200 million by firing someone for expressing political views over the course of a year.
“When you’re hiring for a long-term contract, it’s pretty clear to me that you need to make sure that you are hiring the right person,” said Schmitt.
“It seems to me the most common risk here is that you don’t know who you’re going to hire.
The risk is not just about money, but it’s also about the reputation of the company.”
The company said it doesn’t provide “expert advice” on political questions.
“Our goal is to provide the best product and services to our customers,” Hacking said in a statement to ABC News, “and we don’t provide professional advice on political topics.”
The study also found a surprising amount of employees are willing to share their personal views in front of their bosses — or even with colleagues who work in different departments — without being fired.
A whopping 90% of Hacking employees said that they would share their views with their managers, which was up from 70% in 2017.
More than a third of Hashing employees said their bosses would be more likely to support them if they had a “positive” opinion about a topic, which Hacking called a “sign of strong leadership.”
“This survey suggests that some employees would be reluctant to share the political views of their boss with colleagues,” said Kevin Davenport, chief operating officer at Hacking.
“Even if they disagree with the boss, they would probably still want to share those views.”
Hashing said the survey was not designed to provide any recommendations for companies considering firing people based on the beliefs of their top leadership, but rather to provide an overview of the issues facing companies.
“As technology and automation becomes more and more prevalent, many people will find themselves in a position where their employers are trying to find ways to automate more and to automate better,” Davenampre said.
“We are in a time where it is easier than ever for a worker to find their job in an automated world.”
Haking is also working on a new program to help employers understand their employees’ political beliefs.
“The biggest challenge is that many people feel they have no choice but to agree with their boss,” said Davenpre.
“But they often don’t want to.”