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Responding to offensive comments in the workplace

When you go to work each day, you don't expect to walk into a hostile environment. There are many ways a place of employment can become hostile, and one such way is when supervisors and co-workers begin making offensive comments. This might be done in passing, in jest, on purpose or even just as a mistake. No matter the reason, you deserve better. Here's how to respond to an offensive comment at your place of employment.

If you decide to respond to an offensive comment at work, make sure you don't assume that the person who made the comment was trying to offend you in the first place. In a lot of cases, the person who made the comment doesn't have a clue that it could ever offend someone. A great way to respond to an offensive comment is to share an experience where you made a mistake and said something inappropriate and explain how you handled the situation.

Responding to an offensive comment at work can lead to accusations. Make sure to avoid accusing the person of sexism, racism or any other bigotry. Don't call the person out or even label them as being racist. You need to simply address the comment without accusing the person of a specific lifestyle.

Try to explain your reaction to the offensive comment made by the person at the office. Start the conversation by explaining you know the person didn't mean anything by it, but it still offended you or made you feel uncomfortable.

Responding to an offensive comment at work can help you turn the workplace in a better organization. You don't have to take these comments sitting down. Make sure you defend your rights and speak your mind when presented with offensive comments on the job.

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Costello & Mains, LLC

18000 Horizon Way, Suite 800
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

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