Words in the Workplace

Someone at work has been bad. Or at least so I must surmise, since I found a little gem of an email in my inbox the other day gently reminding me of workplace conduct. Here is a little snippet:

Work Policies and Rules:
I understand that it is my responsibility to ensure that my personal conduct and comments in the workplace support a professional environment which is free of inappropriate behavior, language, joke or actions which could be perceived as sexual harassment or as biased, demeaning, offensive, derogatory to others based upon race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran’s status or disability. I further agree to refrain from words or conduct that is threatening and/or disrespectful of others.

From this I can only determine that the only appropriate speech at work is to be completely neutral talk about work tasks, which, ironically, offends me. I suppose this is just one of those gigantic cover-your-ass type things where the company wants to be able to say, “Hey, we said it was not allowed and they did it anyway, so you can’t sue us, just the guy who did the offending.” And it makes me sad that our society is litigious enough that companies need to be constantly covering their asses.

Sadly, though, the main thing this email has done is make me curious about who said or did what to who to trigger this particular ass covering. In true cover-your-ass fashion though, I’ll never be able to find out unless it happened to one of my immediate colleagues. But in true office gossip fashion, I’m sure I’ll hear plenty of theories.

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