Workplace banter: how to walk the line
By Danielle Ingham
Cases involving workplace banter continue to be fertile ground for embarrassing employment tribunal cases and negative headlines. When one person’s harmless fun can be another’s bullying or harassment, it can be hard for employers to manage.
Last week, Stena Line Irish Sea Ferries hit the press when one of its former dock workers, Martin Sheil, was awarded £45,000 compensation after being dismissed for reacting to homophobic abuse. A Northern Irish tribunal found that Mr Sheil had been unfairly dismissed and had also been the victim of discrimination and harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation. As part of its decision, the tribunal found that Stena Line had ‘adopted a far too passive approach to unpleasant banter’. The banter in question reportedly included quips such as ‘some people in here should come out of the closet’ and derogatory references to Mr Sheil as a ‘fruit’.
Clearly, some degree of banter in the workplace is to be expected and can help to build closer relationships between colleagues. But it is vital for employers to recognise that, in some cases, banter can cross the line from office camaraderie into something more damaging…
Click on the link below to read the rest of the Shoosmiths briefing.
Sign in or Register to continue reading this article
It's quick, easy and free!
It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.Register now
Why register to The Lawyer
In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.
Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.
Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.
More relevant to you
To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.
News from Shoosmiths
News from The Lawyer
Briefings from Shoosmiths
Case law confirms that HR is essential to supporting management when dealing with employee relations issues; however there is a clear difference between supporting a process and influencing a decision.
As it becomes increasingly common for contractual documentation to be concluded electronically, we examine the pros and cons of e-signatures against traditional wet ink signatures.
Analysis from The Lawyer
Compliance and corporate governance codes for large financial institutions will undoubtedly include provisions to regulate high pay in the future
There’s more to the ABS model than attracting the man in the street and procuring external investment. Partners at the big corporate firms, take note…