Take care with office banter, staff told


Workers are being warned to tread a fine line when it comes to office banter.

That is the message from a leading human resource expert, who says there is an increasingly fine line to be trod for those looking to enjoy themselves but remain on the right side of their bosses when in office space.

Speaking to, Dr Patrick Gilbert of human resources firm Mercer Consulting, warned employees they should take heed of a changing environment in the office space.

"What I see happening in organisations is that there is less tolerance for offensive humour," he said

With emails now an integral part of office life, there is an even greater scope for problems being caused by careless quips or misplaced jokes.

A number of examples of emails sent across the office having winged their way round the world have emerged in recent years, including Richard Phillips, a senior associate with law firm Baker & McKenzie.

Mr Phillips, who earned an estimated £80,000 a year, asked a secretary at the firm for £4 to pay for dry-cleaners to remove a ketchup stain she had accidentally splashed on him – her emailed response quickly went ‘viral’ with embarrassing consequences.

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