It seems like every time we turn on the television there is either another topic or extremely sensitive news story bombarding us. It’s only human nature that we would want to talk about it with others. Therefore, many of the “hot” news stories make their way to our workplace. Unfortunately, it could create a potentially litigious situation for employers.
Remember the case a few years back about the Seinfeld episode? A Miller Brewing Company executive discussed an episode with a female employee where Jerry could not remember the name of one of his dates. All he could remember was that it rhymed with a female body part. The employer felt uncomfortable, told the executive so, he apologized, but she still pursued a sexual harassment lawsuit against him.
The point is our workplace environments are just as diverse as our culture. What one person does not consider offensive, another individual may. Just because one person may believe its worth discussing because it was on the news, does not necessarily make it social acceptable or appropriate conversation for the workplace.
If you are an employer, it is important to send a message to all employees regarding their need to be conscious of the topics they choose to discuss at work, or the non-work emails they want to share with fellow co-workers. Today, it is very easy to cross the line. As an employer, you do not want to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit when you could have taken easy steps to prevent it.