A calorie enhanced person walks into a bar in Seattle, no a glandular challenged, no a person who refuses to put down a fork, no … well I probably should not tell this joke anyway because technically since I am writing this article, I am at work. Here in the Northwest or actually anywhere in the country, that would be considered inappropriate workplace humor and I would just be dealing out one more card to be played at a later date.
What am I talking about? The complaint today is that there is too much political correctness out there and I agree. Political Correctness is wrong or at least the term and the stranglehold it has put on our work culture and society is. Being PC is not for me, but also being rude, inconsiderate, insensitive, and downright vulgar is not me either.
Political Correctness was a way of getting people to think before they spoke. A novel concept and something everyone should practice more of, especially in the workplace. Just think of how much nicer the world and working environment would be if everyone used their brain to formulate their thought processes before their mouths uttered the sounds. Some people call it a need for a social filter. That’s’ when your brain is required to think about what you’re going to say in certain situations before you add your selfish opinions, judgments, beliefs, feelings, and points of view out there. This country would not have to worry about political correctness if people used more awareness and judgment versus ignorance and less social compassion, especially in the workplace.
Unfortunately, too many people believe it is their given right to be offensive, rude, and downright vulgar. They somehow possess a twisted conviction that bestows on them the divine entitlement to say what they want, when they want to, no matter what, where, and who it offends. And this happens to all protected classes (race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information). Not just against them, but they also participate in it too.
When I hear someone playing the victim card as a justification for acting in a very inappropriate way, I hand them a world history book and explain to them that since the dawn of time, the entire human race has victimized, enslaved, tortured, killed, and practiced genocide on each other and it continues today. History does not give anyone the right to further the ignorance and hate, nor does it give you a free card to play when you feel like it. Only present ignorant dealers of vulgar and inappropriate comments, practices, and behavior do.
So now you’re wondering, why do I keep making the card references? Solitaire is not the only card game that is played in your place of business. It’s because you hear the statement all the time. “I have a horrible employee but the Human Resources Department or Senior Management is afraid that if we confront this employee they are going to play the card.” Whether it’s the (race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information) card. This card has managers and supervisors terrified to do their job properly and this only plays further into the complainant’s hand.
I am here to tell you that you do not need to fear the card as long as you’re not playing the game. You only need to worry if you’re a participant or host of the game. Even if you’re the king or queen; and your allowing the game to be played in your company or business, you’re going to lose, because your employee has the ACE of Spades in their hand, every time.
What am I talking about? Every time a business owner, CEO, Manager, Supervisor, Human Resources professional, allows inappropriate comments to be thrown around or discriminatory or inappropriate behavior to be conducted in your workplace, you’re dealing out those cards that will be played later. Every time you say “oh that’s just so and so and they have always been that way” or “they did not mean it” and my favorite collaboration with workplace ignorance is “they are just trying to liven up the place, no harm meant.” No harm may not have been meant but that does not mean the cards were not dealt.
Example, a couple employees are telling a racist or inappropriate joke in the break room while a Supervisor and other employees are present. No form of disciplinary action is taken against those participating in the tasteless conduct. You just dealt a card to the players in that room, but that Supervisor was given a deuce. An employee calls another employee a lazy worthless(race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information) and is not reprimanded for it, another card is dealt to that employee and any other employee who heard it. These cards are not just dealt to the person who was the butt of the joke or remark, but everyone who heard it and saw no repercussions for it. Have you ever heard this response? “Well so and so did that and did not get in trouble for it, so why am I?” Sound familiar? Inconsistent disciplinary procedures in the workplace are the Vegas Poker room for these types of actions.
Now when it comes time to discipline an employee who is much deserving of the corrective behavior modifications your insisting on and they pull out their card and say those words every Manager and HR Professional cringe at hearing “their doing that because I am (race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information). And when that employee flops down their Aces and the entire game comes to a hold. The first question that needs to be asked is where did the employee get that card from? Every Company Owner, General Manager, Human Resources Professional, need to start asking who opened that deck of cards and who has been playing in it. Time and money are not wasted on doing an investigation into a game that no one should be playing.
Some are going to say, this type of Draconian disciplinary procedures are unproductive to the work place. I am going to tell you that you’re wrong. I am not saying you cannot joke, have fun, or even goof around in your workplace (I did not say goof off). What I am saying is you need to be considerate of others while you do it. What I find the most ironic is a person who has this type of inappropriate workplace attitude and conduct and believes that you cannot work under these conditions. When asked if they say and do these kinds of inappropriate things when they are in the presence of their Parents, Grandparents, children on in church or other social gatherings, majority of the time reply “no.”
Now back to the hand that was dealt, here is where many companies and HR Departments go wrong. After they investigate and find that no one was ever playing the game that the employee brought out during their workplace conduct adjustment session. They actually found that the card was up the players sleeve from another game. The issue is dropped, to include the original corrective behavior procedure. “Oh we don’t want to give that person any more cards” is what you will hear from Managers and Human Resources un-professionals say. That is wrong, when you catch someone cheating at cards, you throw they out of the game. You do not allow cheaters to play at your casino. Cheaters ruin the reputation and harmony of workplace.
If you as a HR Professional or Manager have done a thorough and in-depth, un-biased or prejudicial investigation that you will sign your name to as a statement of fact, you should have no issue with it going to the state Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Proper investigations that show un-bias and no prejudicial influence always stand up. http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/index.cfm You do not need to fear court, because even though the employee may threaten to take the company to court, it does not mean (1) the Judge will hear the case if there is no substantial evidence and (2) That you will lose. But again, the key here is that no one has been playing the game and handing out cards. That your investigation was completed with integrity and you were honest and diligent in your efforts with no malice or prejudice. I cannot emphasize that last sentence enough. I don’t know how many times I have overlooked an EEOC investigation that was “completed” only to find the integrity of it was a corrupt as an MAFIA owned casino.
It is up to every employee, whether or not you allow these kinds of games to be played in your business or company. You can call it being too politically correct, PC, or what it really is, not allowing the perpetuation of ignorance. But if you want to keep your head in the sand about what is being done in your company and how your employees are harassing each other. Ultimately the final card that is going to be played is you, the joker.