Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.
WHEN A PERSON IS CALLED ON THEIR COMMENTS OR JOKES,
THEIR RESPONSE IS "IT'S ONLY A JOKE" OR “CAN'T YOU TAKE A JOKE?”
A WOMAN IN A MALE DOMINATED WORKPLACE GETS LESS THAN KIND
COMMENTS FROM THE GUYS AND WHEN ASKED ABOUT IT QUIETLY,
SHE SAYS IT DOESN'T BOTHER HER, OR SHE CAN TAKE IT
ASKING A PERSON WHO IS CONSIDERED A "MINORITY"
TO DO TASKS OTHERS ARE REQUIRED TO DO, YET THEY CRY FOUL
EMPLOYEES WHO MAKE DISPARAGING COMMENTS ABOUT MANAGEMENT AND MANAGERS WHO MAKE DISPARAGING COMMENTS ABOUT UNIONS, GENERALLY
WHEN SEVERAL EMPLOYEES MAKE DEROGATORY COMMENTS ABOUT
ANOTHER EMPLOYEE, WHO IS NOT PRESENT, AND OUTSIDE OF WORK
WHEN SOMEONE TELLS A JOKE, MOST PEOPLE LAUGH, BUT IT'S INAPPROPRIATE, ESPECIALLY FOR ONE PARTICULAR EMPLOYEE, BUT NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING
WHEN EMPLOYEES DON'T WANT TO PICK UP THE SLACK BECAUSE A CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEE NEEDS TIME OFF FOR MASS AND WON'T WORK ON SUNDAYS
WHEN AN EMPLOYEE TAKES PART IN REPUGNANT, BUT NOT ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES, SUCH AS A WHITE SUPREMACIST GROUP, OUTSIDE OF WORK
YET NEVER SAYS OR DOES ANYTHING AT WORK
WHEN TWO EMPLOYEES WERE VERY GOOD FRIENDS, BUT HAD A PHYSICAL FIGHT OUTSIDE WORK AND NOW ONE OF THEM WON'T WORK WITH THE OTHER
OVER SOME OPEN FORM OF COMMUNICATION (RADIO OR GROUP EMAIL) AN EMPLOYEE STATES ABOUT ONE OF THE GUYS, "IT MUST BE THAT TIME OF THE MONTH" BECAUSE THIS FELLOW WAS BEING TOO EMOTIONAL
WHEN A WOMAN CAN’T DO THE SAME PHYSICAL WORK
A MALE CO-WORKER CAN DO, BUT IT’S ONLY A SMALL PART OF THE JOB
WHEN A PERSON APPEARS ALMOST RUDE IN EMAILS, BUT IN PERSON THEY COME ACROSS DIFFERENTLY – CONSIDERATE
WHEN SOMEONE WON’T TAKE “NO” FOR AN ANSWER – THEY HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL APPEALS AND PEOPLE DON’T SEE IT HIS WAY
WHEN SOMEONE IS AFRAID TO SAY ANYTHING TO SOMEONE WHO IS “DIFFERENT” FOR FEAR OF A COMPLAINT OR INSULTING THESE PEOPLE
PERSONS LOWER THEIR VOICES WHEN TALKING ABOUT SOMEONE WHO IS (WHISPER) “BLACK”
When inappropriate jokes are made in-house, from a colleague or a boss you can address the situation head on. But sometimes the source of the problem doesn’t lie in your own company. You may have a customer or client who makes jokes that are derogatory or negative towards certain people, but you don't want to say anything in case you lose the business or work relationship.
However, when you don’t say anything, or react with only a smile to the person’s derogatory or negative jokes, you’re condoning it. Without a response, the customer thinks everything is fine.
It may not be easy, but you need to convey a sense of appreciation for their business and your business relationship. Stay calm and don’t try to shame anyone, but be prepared for the person to be somewhat embarrassed and/or defensive. You can follow up with a genuinely supportive comment or an appreciation statement to ease the customer’s ego but don't rush, don't apologize for your comments and don’t gush all over the customer.
Ensure you talk with the person by himself. Any negative comments in front of the client’s co-workers may be embarrassing and may lead to gossip back at their workplace. Sometimes it’s easier to draw attention to someone else’s behaviour by saying you used to do the same thing, but if that’s not the case, just be honest.
“A little earlier in the meeting you made a joke about (joke topic). I know I should have brought it up before, but I don’t feel comfortable with jokes that make nasty fun of others. While you might see it as harmless, I don’t want to take a chance that others overhearing will think everyone’s ok with it, and more importantly, that I condone it. I appreciate you letting me bring this up.”
“I want you to know that I value your business as a client of ours. It’s been great working with you. However, I do feel I need to bring up one issue that’s been bothering me, and I hope we can clear the air. You occasionally make jokes that are negative towards (people, culture, gender). I used to make jokes like that myself, but I realized that they’re not appropriate in today’s world, so I’ve stopped making them. I hope you realize that this is no comment on you as a person, but I’d appreciate if you didn’t make those types of jokes at work.”
(in response to “everyone does it” or “I didn’t mean anything by it”) "I understand, and there are differences in culture or gender that are funny. But when a joke sets up someone in a negative way or relies on ridiculing someone to be funny, I think it’s best left outside of work.”
(in response to being accused of overreacting) “Well, I hope not. We need to model acceptance of others to our kids and our employees. I just don’t want to take the risk that someone may feel that you or I condone negative stereotypes.”
Stephen Hammond, B.A., LL.B., CSP
If you have any questions, please contact Stephen.
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