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Keeping Workplace Humor Free of Lawsuits

In a bummer of a post for PM Hut, Dave Clemens approaches the topic of workplace humor from an HR perspective. He basically comes across as the Comedy Police. But if you think you could use some of that at your office, read on.

Clemens finds that, while everyone knows actual verbal fighting is unacceptable in the workplace, humorous “mock” fights are fair game. In such cases, jokes can push the limits of acceptability as things get heated. Jokes that go too far can result in slander and legal liabilities. So what you want to watch out for are jokes that can push people’s buttons on a personal level. That being said, Clemens offers a pretty ridiculous example, which I am going to share for the sake of mocking:

An employee who is the subject of a mock “arrest” could have an ex-con in their family, and so be extremely sensitive on the subject.

Who gets mock arrested at work? What does that even mean? “Ha! Jack, you always take an extra donut! You’re under arrest, you donut thief!” Jack gives a cold stare; he replies, “My uncle was a donut thief. You have laid me bare, cut me open, and unearthed my darkest shame.”

Yeah, Clemens needs to work on his examples. Anyway, if you have a legitimate problem with inappropriate humor, call a meeting and give examples of the sorts of humor that need to stop without citing any specific names. If it is always the same one or two people making these jokes though, then talk to them individually. Just try and not sound utterly soulless while you do it. For more, you can view the original post here:

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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