There is a lot of anger and frustration about. The use of inflammatory language by tabloid news papers, radio shocks jocks and the Prime Minister means that people in the work place feel freer to use the same language and show the same lack of concern for their colleagues feelings. Managers are expected to challenge inappropriate and offensive language but it’s harder if such behaviour is being normalised outside of work.
It’s part of the managers job to set standards and challenge inappropriate behaviour. Not tolerating offensive, belittling or sexist language certainly falls within the job description. So if a member of the team said black people should “go back to where they came from” , or mocked niqab wearing women as looking like letter boxes or bank robbers the manager would be expected to reprimand them and if this was a persistent pattern of behaviour subject them to disciplinary action the out come of which could be dismissal. And not so long ago it would. But if presidents and prime misters are using this language then those guilty of using it in the work place will argue if the PM can say it why can’t I.
If the injured party complaints they are accused of lacking a senses of humour or being over sensitive.
Senior managers and HR departments need to take the led in reminding managers that just because someone else has said something, does not make it acceptable in the work environment and managers will be supported in challenging inappropriate language.
Blair Mcpherson former director author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk
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