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36

Not So Politically Correct

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In a time when celebrating diversity in the workplace is such a hot topic, it seems that the celebration might be falling of deaf ears when it comes to employees. According to an annual survey conducted by Boston consulting and training firm Novations/J. Howard & Associates, the number of ethnic, racial, age-related and other types of inappropriate remarks employees hear in the workplace hasn't declined over last year.

The most frequent insults in 2004 were sexually inappropriate remarks, which 35% of men and 28% of women employees reported overhearing. And though ethnic and age-related insults either stayed the same or decreased over last year's survey, racial slurs increased from 27% in 2003 to 30% in 2004. The study didn't uncover any "dramatic trends," as Tom McKinnon with Novations/J. Howard noted; however, it did reveal "a disturbing pattern of indifference to the feelings of other employees."

Are employees really becoming that indifferent? What should companies do to foster more respectful relationships in the workplace? And how do you handle it when an employee is disrespectful to another employee?

Last updated: Jul 7, 2005




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