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How to handle when your boss’s jokes go too far

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2024 | Harassment, Workplace Discrimination

Dealing with inappropriate jokes from your boss can be challenging. It’s important to address the issue promptly to maintain a respectful and comfortable work environment.

Assess the situation

First, determine if the jokes are simply in poor taste or if they cross the line into harassment. If the jokes are offensive, demeaning, or target specific individuals or groups, they may constitute harassment.

Speak up directly

Sometimes, your boss might not realize their jokes are offensive. Politely but firmly let them know how their comments make you feel. Use “I” statements to express your feelings without sounding accusatory. For example, say, “I feel uncomfortable when you make jokes about my appearance.”

Keep a record

Document instances of inappropriate jokes, noting times, dates, and any witnesses. This record can be useful if you need to escalate the issue. 

Seek support from colleagues

Talk to colleagues to see if they have experienced similar issues. Their support can provide validation and strength in numbers. Knowing others share your concerns can make it easier to address the problem .

Report to HR

If the behavior continues despite your efforts to address it directly, report the issue to your Human Resources department. Provide them with your documentation and any relevant details. HR has the responsibility to investigate and take appropriate action to ensure a safe and respectful workplace.

Reporting helps everyone

Experiencing harassment can be stressful and emotionally draining. But you deserve to feel secure in your workplace without worrying about the consequences of harmful comments. Remember, it’s important to report any incidents to ensure a safe and respectful environment for everyone.

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