Banter or Bullying

Having worked in male dominated industries for many years I am very familiar with the type of office banter that takes place. For most people it is fun and considered harmless. However, what about the by standers who don’t take part and are offended by the content of the banter. What about banterers who would rather not engage in the activity but feel they have to get along with the team?

Sadly, some banter in the office could and does amount to bullying and or harassment. Jokes about sexuality, faith, gender or age could be very offensive to some, even if they are not the intended recipient.

So how do employers tackle this without being over bearing? Certainly manager training is a first step. Team leaders and managers need to be aware of the potential dangers of allowing banter in the office to continue. They then need to lead their teams in such a way as to maintain team fun and communication without letting it edge into the inappropriate.

Highlighting the areas that are sensitive and explaining will help leaders guide their teams into the right kind of office chat, and will help to steer them away from areas that could lead to complaints of by=ullying and harassment.

GAHR provides management training on employment law and staff management

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