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”
Humour is very particular and one person’s knee-slapper may be another person’s horror. We’re allowed to have different thoughts on humour and no one should feel they have to find something funny if they don’t (especially just to “fit in”). But that’s if something really was supposed to be funny in the first place and it is just chalked up to a different sense of humour.
However, a very different situation arises when humour is used inappropriately with a rude comment or a tasteless joke. The problem with a person saying “can’t you take a joke” is that’s it is often completely disarming to the person who is trying to stop comments that are unwelcome, at least in the workplace. When someone says “it’s only a joke”, the person speaking up is put on the defensive, as if she did something wrong in the first place. People should be encouraged to speak their minds, without being dismissed.
Be prepared for someone to make this kind of comment, when you want to put a stop to something that is clearly not funny, or even if it may be funny, it’s objectionable to others.
When someone makes an inappropriate comment or joke, let him know it’s not funny. You can simply say “that’s not funny” or “why would you make an insensitive comment like that?” If you are then told “it’s just a joke” or “can’t you take a joke,” don’t get on the defensive. Let the person know there is nothing wrong with your sense of humour, but what he said wasn’t funny.
“I have a great sense of humour thanks very much, but that’s not funny.”
“It may seem funny to you, but to those who are the brunt of your ‘jokes’ I doubt they would find anything funny about that.”
“Can you explain to me why that’s funny? You see, I just think it’s offensive because it’s just a cheap shot at ____. But perhaps I’m missing something.”
Stephen Hammond, B.A., LL.B., CSP
If you have any questions, please contact Stephen.
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