How would you respond if you were singled out for upholding your employer's views?

Contributed by PRSA Central Iowa Ethics Chair, Kathy Krafka-Harkema, APR

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was reportedly asked to leave a restaurant called The Little Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia on June 22. News accounts report restaurant owner Stephanie Wilkinson asked Sanders to leave, shortly after Sanders and her dinner party had been seated.

The restaurant owner said she and her staff objected to the views Sanders communicates on behalf of the Trump presidency. So, the owner asked Sanders to leave, which she did, along with others in her dinner party. News accounts described it as a polite exit.

In this case, each woman stuck to their views.

“I always do my best to treat people, including those who I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so," Sanders tweeted. “Her actions say far more about her than about me.”

Wilkinson said she would do the same thing and ask Sanders to leave if she came to her restaurant again.

As public relations professionals we communicate key messages on behalf of our employer, our client, ourselves, and/or or our own company. We are often judged by those views, both on and off the job, as this incident reminds us.

Have you ever been singled out for upholding views related to your job? How would you handle a situation like this? Would you politely leave if asked, or make a scene? It’s an opportunity for us to consider how to respond as public relations professionals. If it hasn’t happened to you, it could. You could be championing the cause you work for, which is opposed by others. And you could be confronted about it. How would you respond?

As members of PRSA, we’ve agreed to uphold our Code of Ethics. When’s the last time you checked it out? Now’s the time because at any time you, too, could be confronted as a result of the views you convey. Learn more at PRSA Code of Ethics https://www.prsa.org/ethics/code-of-ethics.

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