One of the stories to come out of the Capitol Attack earlier this month was the strong presence of QAnon supporters.
QAnon is a wide-ranging — and wholly untrue — conspiracy theory (online cult?) that posits that President Trump has been waging a secret war against elite Satinists and pedophiles in government and elsewhere. It started in the fall of 2017 when an anonymous user put a series of posts on the 4Chan website and claimed to have “Q”-level government clearance.
(Though conspiracies like this also started well before that — see that pizzagate story too.)
It’s nonsense, of course.
But that hasn’t stopped hundreds of thousands of people — and perhaps millions — from trafficking in part or all of the (sometimes contradictory) theories spouting from it.
Psychology Today has done a series of articles on this as have many other publications like The Atlantic but the issues such online conduct raises go far beyond the workplace.
But more and more, we’re seeing it start to infiltrate the workplace. They are anecdotal pieces to be sure, but we’re starting to hear about employees who spout off at work about conspiracies.
And it’s not just employees, but supervisors too. Take this New York Times column from September — “Help! My Boss is a Conspiracy Theorist!”
Or this piece about employees who argue that no one is really dying from COVID-19.
It’s a challenge for human resources and managers on top of a monumental set of other challenges.
But when those beliefs start interfering in the workplace — for example, the employee who refuses to wear masks — action is necessary. Discipline and firings are all tools in the toolbox to address it.
Unfortunately, just trying to convince employees that they are wrong hasn’t had a lot of success of late.