We all want our working environments to be generally happy places, where people can, and do, take part in workplace banter. However, what can seem like a joke to some can be seen as offensive to others. In today’s multi-cultural and diverse organisations we need to be aware that ‘banter’ can easily become harassment.
Many organisations and individuals have been taken to tribunal for what seemed like innocent behaviour at the time. These cases are well documented and are becoming more frequent, in 2015/16 a total 83,031 tribunal claims were made, compared with 61,308 in the previous year. The maximum award for sexual harassment was £1,762,130.
Managers need to understand their responsibilities in managing harassment and bullying and as such there are a number of courses including Equality & Diversity that can provide the necessary knowledge.
However, what do we provide for members of our teams? Is it really fair to discipline someone if they have never had the chance to fully understand, or be trained in, the consequences of what they believe to be innocent high jinks.
THSP have developed a training module specifically for staff that will help to avoid the potential pitfalls associated with workplace jokes and ‘clowning around’. The course includes:
- The difference between banter and harassment
- Real case studies, including some high profile cases that people may have seen in the national press
- An explanation of the consequences of getting it wrong
The interactive course takes two and a half hours, meaning that three sessions can be held in one day.
If you want your people to be better informed and therefore avoid costly tribunals, make sure they have the necessary knowledge to manage their own behaviour.