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In general, political orientation should not be asked and/or affect the hiring process. However, if one publicly advocates radical parties, oppressive regimes (such as Iran or China), or extremists what is the consensus and professional stand about considering this as a negative factor in the hiring process?

I am talking about extreme cases, for example, hardliners who believe it is okay to kill an atheist whenever they can---not usual political leaning. Also, I am not saying that they directly state that they want to kill someone or such, but they explicitly advocate groups doing that.

Update: They behaved fine during the interview and are capable of doing what the position needs. This knowledge of political orientation became clear during an internship period, not in the workplace but in several social events and actively in their social network profiles. Now, this question raised when they applied for a longer-term employment.

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    How a person behaves during an interview is part of the process. Are they nice to the receptionist, do they have basic manners, etc. Frankly, if North Korea came up in an interview I’d find that very odd (well, except for specific national security postings). So, was this during an interview, checking references, or what?
    – Jon Custer
    Jul 5 at 14:23
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    Do you think it will impact their work? Jul 5 at 14:24
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    When someone openly promotes any radical ideas (political, religious etc.) during the hiring process, you can expect them to do the same to future colleagues..
    – iLuvLogix
    Jul 5 at 14:47
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    Based on what you wrote, my assumption is that these far-right political opinions and beliefs are in opposition to your own. Let me ask you a question; is it OK to discriminate based on political opinions and beliefs, even if they contradict your own or those of the majority?
    – joeqwerty
    Jul 5 at 14:58
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    You should remove "far-right" from the question (and make it more general and balanced; say, you could mention Iran and Venezuela). Then the Q could be at least attempted to be answered fairly.
    – Zeus
    Jul 6 at 0:27
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I'm going to attempt to answer this in a political neutral way. I don't believe these types of questions are specific to the far-right. There are certainly business owners who are equally cautious about those on the far-left.

You will not find consensus on this issue.

There are those that believe that holding certain political beliefs means you automatically should be disqualified from being employed.

Others believe people should be assessed on merit and capability to do a job only.

It is of my opinion that you need to assess people on their merit, and you should give people the benefit of the doubt. If people are shown to act in a manner that is divisive, regardless of the political leaning, that is behaviour that should be moderated.

I also find it's important to note that there is one can hold firm ideological beliefs without subscribing to extremist narrative. An example is that some interpretations/quotes of the bible call for violent action against different categories of people, but almost all christians abhor violence.

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    The tricky part with "merit and capability to do a job" is that it can lead to very different conclusions depending on where you set the boundary of those criteria. If Bob is a fast and reliable widget maker, but his political activities lead to a customer boycott of the business, does that count into assessments of his merit/capability? Jul 6 at 1:39
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    In general I'd agree, but in practice and given relatively recent events, when said 'political beliefs' involve the notion that it's acceptable to storm the capitol just because you don't want to accept that your candidate lost, I wouldn't want to work with them.
    – Shadur
    Jul 6 at 6:48
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    @GregoryCurrie Wrong, OP says "in several social events and actively in their social network profiles." If somebody wants me dead, I don't want to work with them. If they behave professionally at work or not is the least of my concerns at that point.
    – R. Schmitz
    Jul 6 at 8:01
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    @R.Schmitz "Somebody wants me dead". Who is demonizing who here? Jul 6 at 8:04
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    @GregoryCurrie I'm assuming you didn't read the part of the question where it says "I am not saying that they directly state that they want to kill someone or such, but they explicitly advocate groups doing that". Because otherwise, that would be some hardcore victim blaming.
    – R. Schmitz
    Jul 6 at 8:39
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I would say in general that this person's inability to keep these views to themselves during the hiring process is a strong indication, regardless of which side of the issue they are on, that they will bring them up, maybe repeatedly, in the office. I also think it shows lack of professional judgement on what's appropriate to discuss in a professional environment.

Therefore, they will spend time arguing and distracting coworkers espousing these beliefs and will contribute to a toxic workplace, in addition may impact other people's attention where they may then stop working to argue with this person, or find it difficult to concentrate while they bring up these views in the office.

I think as a rule of thumb, if you have learned somehow this person's extremist views, in such a short time frame, your team members will as well, and it will not be a good cultural fit.

If this happened to me... If the candidate seemed good, professionally, I would talk to them and say... Look....it's been this much time and I have been made aware you have a very divisive view on this topic. This topic has nothing to do with work. I'm interested in hiring you, but if you bring these issues up in the office, as it is a sensitive subject, it will very likely make other team members uncomfortable. I am comfortable moving forward with this but you need to be aware we have a policy against discussing politics in the office and I'm concerned, as our discussions so far have already made your views known.

Update - he mentioned in the comments it came about from social media activity and not in the workplace. Very different scenario... An argument can still be made that one needs to be careful about their social media presence as they can be interpreted as a representative of an organization, but I think this is much less severe. If he has kept it out of the office and it's only been found by scrutinizing his social media, then I think absolutely he should be able to be part of the workplace, so long as he is able to keep those views to his private life and not in the office... If it's a problem that those are on social media, maybe your company develops a policy on this and addresses it, but I think that's much less serious than my initial interpretation that this came up out of his own discussions during hiring process

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  • +1 voice of reason. Keep his personal ideology separate from his qualifications for work unless evidence dictates elsewise
    – Anthony
    Jul 6 at 22:05
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There are lots of colleagues who will have to work with the person, and that is what you need to take into account. Plus future colleagues. For example, if you talk to a candidate and you think "we don't have any muslims as employees right now, but if we hire this person, then hiring a muslim would be a problem". If that's what you think, and you think you should be free to hire people whatever religion they have, then this person is a problem.

Or if you think "I wouldn't want this person employed if a young woman is there as well", that's a problem. Or "this person thinks anyone who gets vaccinated is stupid", that's a problem. So you can professionally reject someone because of their political or otherwise views.

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    Political views are no different to religion in terms of discrimination protection. You can turn it around and say "if we hire this muslim now, it would be a problem to hire a right-winger later". Does it work?
    – Zeus
    Jul 6 at 0:39
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    @Zeus That "it would be a problem" needs unpacking: which of the two candidates is making it a problem? "We can't hire B because they hate A" and "we can't hire A because B hates them" are not equal and opposite scenarios. Jul 6 at 1:23
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    @Zeus At least in the US this isn't the case. Some states protect employees from political discrimination, but it isn't a federally protected class and many states don't include it as a protected class. Jul 6 at 3:24
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    @Zeus In both cases though, the Muslim employee is passive - it is the right-wing employee (or candidate) who would be an active threat. So no, it's not equal in both your cases. If you were to equate a right-winger with a radical Muslim who believed in armed jihad against their neighbours, then you would have an equal situation.
    – Graham
    Jul 6 at 7:03
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    @Graham, yes, of course, I assumed a symmetric case: the Muslim in question is a good employee but supports radical jihad in social media, network profiles etc, like in the Q. Yet it doesn't involve any direct threats, least of all to the neighbours, again like in the Q; just a general (even if vocal) "support".
    – Zeus
    Jul 6 at 7:38
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I mostly agree with the previous answers, but there is an additional point I think needs to be considered.
That is, what position is that person applying for?

The OP said they learned about that person’s beliefs from events and social media and generally they keep their views out of the workplace. So for a regular office job, while their beliefs might be a factor, they shouldn't automatically disqualify that person.

If the job is more public, customer-facing position (e.g. a community manager) their opinions could cause big problem as their private views will be associated with the company by (potiential) customers.

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Extreme worldviews are a risk that can lead to a toxic workplace environment and even violence: https://www.everbridge.com/blog/five-types-workplace-violence/

Some years ago I had a coworker who happened to be an extremist, and while he behaved perfectly professionally in front of the project managers, he was a bully in their backs. His behaviour impacted my and my colleague's performance really badly. I also have to say that the managers where also pretty incompetent, and believed the problem of bullying is the victim.

Also people can recoment their friends and aquitances to apply for a job in your conpany, so the extremist could bring other extremists in your workplace.

On the other hand you have to be carefull about who you consider to be extremist/radical, because you can end being unfair and/or end loosing someone who happened to be a good fit. As an example, vegans and capitalists can be extremists, but a lot of them are not.

So I would say it's ok to be cautious if you have this information, it's ok if you don't want to take the risk, but also evaluate only to not to hire this person by ideology if you have very good reasons to believe they are an extremist.

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