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Jokes and Jokers Equal Employment Incompetence Communication

Several people I work with now think it is hilarious to tell ethnic jokes. They are also using e-mail to send them around. I find them to be offensive, and I'm sure there are other employees here who feel the same way. What do you suggest?

Some of your fellow employees may think these jokes are hilarious, but they are not going to be doing much laughing when someone files a lawsuit as a result. This kind of behavior at the workplace is typically regarded as unfunny, unkind, and unlawful.

The first step is to discuss this situation with your manager. Of course, the more basic question actually focuses on your manager. In a word, where is this person? A manager should be spending a good deal of time with the troops and should be able to spot this type of behavior instantly. The fact that these jokes are sailing through the halls and the e-mail system indicates that your manager is not on top of the game. And, that's no joke.

If this incident somehow managed to slip by your manager, he or she can still deal with it productively by immediately investigating the matter, applying appropriate warnings and sanctions, clarifying and publicizing the company's policies in this area, and implementing some training. There is no room for ethnic jokes in the workplace, and, frankly, there is not much room for a manager who ignores them either.

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