Offence in the Workplace
Meredith Hurst Monday, September 21, 2015
Legalities in an office/workplace can be very difficult. What some people see as 'banter' others see as 'bullying'. Flippant comments can have heavy repercussions for both employers and employee. Making sure a zero-tolerance culture is implemented is always the best solution but this said, there are still going to be cases where people are offended by comments made.
People commonly complain of 'harassment' without understanding its true legal meaning. Harassment in a legal sense must be on the basis of a protected characteristic including race, sex, disability and sexual orientation. Harassment, or more generally, 'being picked on' for another reason (for example being overweight, hair colour etc.) whilst not giving rise to an actionable discrimination claim may still cause staff to complain of bullying in the wider sense. Of course, if the offensive comment or action has a discriminatory feature (on the grounds of race, sex etc.) then the victim may also have grounds to bring a discrimination claim.
We pushed out a survey and collated some of the most shocking results and created a set of striking visual images to show offensive comments made to people in the workplace.