10 things you should never say to your colleagues

10 things you should never say to your colleagues

When Donald Trump told the French First Lady Brigitte Macron: “You’re in such good shape. She’s in such good physical shape. Beautiful”, it marked another odd moment for the US President and his string of seemingly sexist comments.

But what if these remarks were made in the workplace? Even though Trump has made these comments on the job – he still got away with it, despite getting a grilling from the media (whose outcries are most likely blocked out by Trump’s imaginary wall).

Whilst Trump is an HR nightmare, his actions are extremely telling about power, leadership and a lack of accountability, but in the workplace, it’s highly unlikely that anyone, let alone HR, would tolerate his gaffes.

Denise Dudley, author of “Work It! Get In, Get Noticed, Get Promoted,” keynote speaker and Founder and former CEO of SkillPath Seminars, says employees must think carefully before complimenting someone on his or her physique. Whilst compliments about co-workers clothes and physical appearance are part of rapport building, comments about a person’s looks or weight or figure are often cited in sexual harassment lawsuits – Market Watch reports.

There’s a lesson to be learnt, regardless of the level of professional stature about what should never be uttered in the workplace.

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Below, experts have listed 10 things you should never say at work…

1. ‘Do you and your wife go to church?’

Religion, sexuality and marital status, are topics best avoided in the workplace. One failsafe thought to run through your mind before you speak, according to Dudley, is ‘if in doubt, leave it out’. In addition, don’t always assume a man is married to a woman or a woman is married to a man, she said. Swap “wife” and “husband” for “significant other” or “partner.”

2. ‘You’re having a blonde moment!’

“It’s just a joke” just doesn’t cut it. “There are a number of cases which focus on the off-handed comments made in the workplace,” Robert Gregg, a lawyer with Boardman & Clark writes on his blog. “These comments have, in fact, come back as evidence of discriminatory intent or harassment by a manager.”

3. ‘Are you going to have more kids?’

This could be interpreted as a judgment on maternity leave. Furthermore, research has found that corporate culture that fails to embrace diversity is a prominent cause for the decline in males and females career ambitions. Don't be that individual who drags us back to the 1960s.

4. ‘You’re only taking the elevator one floor?’

David, a New York-based Marketing Executive, said he was once asked this question by a colleague. However, his colleague was unaware that he had a neurological disorder that prevented him from walking up even one flight of stairs. “There are all sorts of disabilities and illnesses that are invisible to people,” he says. What may seem like an innocent question can come across as invasive and inconsiderate.

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