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”
People often feel that making a derogatory joke or comment when they’re “not hurting anyone” is ok. For example, they may reason that it’s alright to poke fun at Asian facial features if no one in the group is Asian. It may appear that no one is part of the joke’s target group and no one objects. These jokes may seem harmless. “We’re not hurting anyone.”
They’re not harmless. The people in the group may have no considerable prejudice or hatred towards a particular group; however, with every derogatory joke or comment that is told, the participants’ respect or concern for those people diminishes. It builds an “us vs. them” mentality and reduces acceptance of others. It will affect anyone who overhears, and finally, who’s to say that someone in the group is not offended? What if the joke is about gay men, and one of the group is wrestling with his sexual identity? Just because someone doesn’t object out loud, it doesn’t mean they don’t feel hurt inside.
Take the individual(s) aside and discuss your concerns. Find out if their negative comments are coming from a place of prejudice (fear or ignorance of those unlike themselves) or because they feel it’s “innocent” humour. Encourage a discussion around how saying jokes like that reduces respect, not to mention potentially offending those who overhear. If they are influenced by others in the workplace, you'll have to educate more than just one person. Let everyone know you don’t support this in the workplace.
“I heard the joke you made earlier. I wanted to let you know that it disturbed me, because it was poking fun in a mean way about (race, ethnic origin, gender, etc). Can you let me know why you’re telling jokes like this at work?”
“You had the group laughing when you made that joke earlier. I am concerned because it made nasty fun of (group). Each time any of us makes a derogatory comment about others, we lose respect for the people involved. I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if you overheard others making (racist, ethnic, religious) derogatory jokes about you or your family's background or beliefs. I have to ask you not to make jokes like that at work.”
(After being told no one minds) “I understand you feel it’s harmless. Keep in mind, though, that we lower our own standards and acceptance of others when we talk about others like that. As well, how do you really know that no one minds? What if someone has (group) in their background? You need to be aware that this is not ok in the workplace.”
Stephen Hammond, B.A., LL.B., CSP
If you have any questions, please contact Stephen.
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