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Insults and Sarcasm

If a superintendent of a developing company insults a subcontractor and his practice and repeats the same insults and sarcasm to the homeowner is that consider as illegal?

Though insults and cynicism in any work environment are unprofessional and problematic, such behavior is generally not unlawful.

Offensive language may contribute to a hostile work environment. Hostile work environment is a form of harassment that is so severe or pervasive it creates an environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Many states have expanded criteria for unlawful harassment.

Offensive conduct may include offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.

Also, a person who intentionally or carelessly uses abusive language that causes another individual severe emotional or mental distress may be held liable for his actions. This is referred to as intentional infliction of emotional distress. General name calling or negative opinions that may hurt an individual’s feelings are not covered. The behavior must be so extreme and outrageous that it causes extreme sadness, anxiety, or anger.

Even if the behavior doesn’t violate any law, it should still be addressed. Confront the individual directly and professionally. Explain the behavior that is inappropriate and your expectation for it to stop. Depending upon your role in this situation, you may consider including a person of authority over the superintendent. HTH.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 12th, 2016 at 2:26 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management.
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