How many of us get those chain jokes in our mail boxes daily; jokes about gays, older people, Polish people, some about women, Muslims, Jews, etc…and the list goes on.
These jokes that may be intended to be funny can be taken the wrong way, and be considered of extremely bad taste. How do you react to these jokes?
Do you delete them or just hit the forward button to the next person that will do exactly the same thing. Did you ever stop and think that these jokes might be offending to someone else, even if they don’t speak up and voice their discontent? Did you ever stop, and put yourself in their shoes and how they could feel excluded? Did you know that this could be considered a type of harassment?
Harassment is verbal or physical conduct that belittles and shows hostility or aversion towards an individual or a group because of their race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation age or any other characteristics protected by law.
Harassment causes an uncomfortable feeling that can distract a person from doing their job if done all the time. It is abusive words or phrases, jokes, slurs or negative stereotyping, threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts that are derogatory or disrespectful, even if not intended. Describing these actions as being insensitive is a major understatement, as well as using expressions like: you must have voted for Obama, you look so good for a fifty years old, you people, you all look-alike, learn to speak English, you foreigners, very articulate for a Puerto Rican, all men are the same, older people can’t handle technology…
You will be surprised how many of these expressions I have heard and how many of these jokes I have seen, and the sad part is that whoever is expressing them don’t feel that they being insensitive, or wrong, and they actually ask you what happened to your sense of humor. Humor? I wasn’t aware that hurting someone’s feelings these days was called humor.
Humor is required in every aspect of our lives, I am not asking anyone here to walk on egg shells, I am not asking anyone to inconvenience themselves, but at least be aware of what you say or act and how do you say it.
All what I am asking for is RESPECT one another. Understanding sensitivity in the workplace is a step forward to instill respect. Harassing conduct is never justified; not knowing it is harassment is not a legal defense. Wherever there is harassment; morale suffers and as a result: Productivity decreases; absenteeism and employee turnover are high, inability to hire or retain talents; legal fees to defend the lawsuits in courts soar, and damage to the company’s image and reputation can be permanent. Bottom line loss of revenues is the result.
Why do people keep their silence and don’t correct the wrong, and what are the ways to handle these sticky situations? – that is what I will discuss in the next post
Diversity starts at home, Inclusion starts with each one of us,
Contact me: saharconsulting