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‘Potty mouth’ staff leave SMEs open to court action

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The level of swearing, sexism, shouting and sexual innuendo in the UK’s work force is reaching alarming levels, and businesses could face lengthy court actions if they cannot curb their employees, according to new research.

Business insurer Hiscox has revealed that 70% of UK staff feel bad behaviour is sweeping across office floors. The Hiscox study consulted small to medium enterprise bosses (SME) and their staff about the standards of behaviour present in the country’s offices, highlighting a chasm developing over “office antics”.

Alarmingly, 70% of employers claim they are “unconcerned” about the threat of legal action from staff, and 82% believe there is nothing wrong with office banter. Two in five employers (42%) said it is not their role to regulate antics, despite 55% of employees stating they would head to court if they felt offended by office behaviour.

“In the modern workplace one employee’s banter can easily turn into another employee’s lawsuit,” said Callum Taylor, Small Business Expert at Hiscox.

“Our research highlights an area of workplace culture that SME bosses must be more aware of in order to avoid unexpected legal action.”

As the Christmas party season spreads over the nation’s workforce, financial strains mean that more and more businesses will be celebrating the holidays within the confines of the office. With 66% of employees believing that antics are likely to worsen within office parties, employers should keep a watchful eye over this season’s festivities to avoid additional problems in the New Year.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

December 12, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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