If you are employed in a small office or work closely with the same group of people day-in and day-out, it is often easy to cross the line when talking to an employee or your employer. Whether it is intentional or not certain conversations that are inappropriate and cross the line could get you fired or even into legal trouble.
While most inappropriate references have to do with a sexual nature, any comments make the employee or boss feel uncomfortable or uneasy are inappropriate. As an example, commenting to your employee about his weight or asking your boss for her advice about family finances is inappropriate.
The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin. While most individuals are aware the law prohibits against discrimination based on race and sex, frequently some individuals overlook that they are discriminating when commenting about age or national origin. Implying to an employee that she is too old to do a job or joking that she is not smart enough because of her national origin is not only considered inappropriate, it is actually discriminatory. It could result in a lawsuit against you and your company.
Too Much Information
Albeit interesting tabloid fodder when a celebrity goes public with a personal problem, conversations about personal issues are not appropriate when shred between a boss and employee. Even if the group you work with seems close-knit and are like family, steer clear of becoming a sounding board for your employees' troubles and refrain from sharing too much personal information about yourself if you are the boss. Not only is this unprofessional, but it could become a potential problem if you are up for a promotion, and your boss feels you have too many complications at home.
There is a time and place for everything. Having your boss comment about how much you make or don’t make in front of other employees, however, is not appropriate talk at any time. Keep salary or money discussions behind closed doors. If your employee or boss wants to talk about how much she or you make, invite her into your office or away from other employees so that you can speak privately.
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