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VigilantePaladin

Being offended on someone's behalf...

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VigilantePaladin

...when the person isn't offended themselves?

I had someone apologise to me today after they were told that something they had said to me had been reported to our TL as upsetting that person. I was in no way offended by what was said. In fact I took it as a joke as was the intent by the person who said it to me. I was absolutely mortified that they had to apologise and a bit annoyed that it was reported as offensive. I was more than a little annoyed that it wasn't even mentioned to me about possible offense.

WWYD? Mention to TL that these things need to be checked before saying anything or just leave it?

I am embarrassed both for myself and my colleague and a bit p*ssed that someone would assume offence on my behalf tbh

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seayork2002

I agree, I would put it down to them thinking of making themselves feel better rather than doing actual good. I am not sure if I would mention it but may stop things in the future if you do?

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Poughkeepsie

But were they offended on your behalf, or offended because what was said was actually offensive? 
There’s a big difference. 

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Mrs Twit

Someone only has to overhear something offensive and they can report it even if it isn't aimed at them. So if they were offended themselves then fair enough. But if they reported it on your behalf I would be annoyed about that too.

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VigilantePaladin
5 minutes ago, Poughkeepsie said:

But were they offended on your behalf, or offended because what was said was actually offensive? 
There’s a big difference. 

Os that relevant though? The comment was said to me and is took it as intended so was not offended.  My colleague apologised to me after our TL was told about what was said and thought I would be upset. I wasn't. 

I'm annoyed that someone assumed on my behalf if that makes sense...

Edited by VigilantePaladin
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Poughkeepsie

It does matter if what was said is offensive to someone who heard it in a professional setting. 
If they overheard something racist, sexist or downright offensive, and it was inappropriate to be said out loud in a workplace, I can see why it could be reported. That stuff is not ok. 

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Ozquoll

Perhaps talk to your TL and let them know you weren't offended. Offense is entirely subjective and the person who complained may well have felt very offended by the use of a particular word or trope. That's between them and your TL really. 

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Amica

You might not have been offended but they were, and they were right to make a complaint.

My friend use to work for the fire service. The fireMEN use to make sexist and racist jokes between themselves pretty much constantly. She says it was pretty hard to not overhear. They even use to call black people coons. My friend is black. When she made a complaint about the word 'COON', they rolled their eyes and replied 'we don't mean people like you, we mean abo's'... she's Mouri. She was bullied out of the fire service after that. Relentless bullying.

Edited by Amica
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VigilantePaladin
8 minutes ago, Poughkeepsie said:

It does matter if what was said is offensive to someone who heard it in a professional setting. 
If they overheard something racist, sexist or downright offensive, and it was inappropriate to be said out loud in a workplace, I can see why it could be reported. That stuff is not ok. 

It was none of those things I can assure you.

The  conversation was as follows..

Colleague - "Hello cupcake!"

Me - "Hello possum! *grabs my own muffin top* "Yes I am a walking cupcake today"

I am friends with this person. We have pet names for each other. Someone has overheard her call me cupcake in the lunchroom and reported that as being offensive to our TL. I am assuming they thought she was referring to my weight when I responded in the way that I did. 

 

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Squeekums The Elf

I'd be annoyed like you OP

I'd prefer the one who complained come ask if I was offended before jumping the gun to a complaint.  Then I'd have a chance to pass on the message to other person saying I'm not offended but xyz didn't like it, best keep it out of their earshot from now on. 

 

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IamOzgirl
35 minutes ago, VigilantePaladin said:

It was none of those things I can assure you.

The  conversation was as follows..

Colleague - "Hello cupcake!"

Me - "Hello possum! *grabs my own muffin top* "Yes I am a walking cupcake today"

I am friends with this person. We have pet names for each other. Someone has overheard her call me cupcake in the lunchroom and reported that as being offensive to our TL. I am assuming they thought she was referring to my weight when I responded in the way that I did. 

 

Yep def should not have been made to applogise...

What I would have done if I was TL, is speak to you check you were okay,  and then left it at that. 

telling reporter that i would handle it, not offer anything like - oh dear yes i will speak to offender etc. 

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Prancer is coming

I think it was handled fine.  The person may have thought the name she called you was about your weight which would have been confirmed for her when you grabbed your muffin top.  I imagine your team leader used their discretion. If it sounded like nothing they probably would have done nothing.  But I imagine the person witnessing it was offended, and it may have been about what she felt, not what it is assumed you felt.

 

To be honest, any comment about weight or that could be linked to it, will be sensitive to some people.  I would just let your friend know that you were not offended at all and did not report it, but given things can be interpreted differently by other people, you may need to drop the nicknames that may offend others.

 

 

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CallMeFeral

Sounds like a misunderstanding, you've done what you can to remedy it. I'd mention to your TL that it was a misunderstanding, rather than that these things need to be checked. 

Basically if someone HAD made a weight related comment to you, they'd be within their rights to raise it, as it would be inappropriate and may have been offensive to them even if it wasn't to you. 

But as it is, it wasn't weight related, so your TL should be informed of that (in order to correct any possibly negative view they might have of your colleague). But it doesn't mean the person who reported it did something wrong. It's just an ordinary run of the mill misunderstanding, these things happen, fix any fallout from it and move on. 

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chillipeppers

What is TL?

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chillipeppers
11 hours ago, Jenflea said:

I'm assuming Team leader @chillipeppers

Thankyou 

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123Tree

I have worked in male dominated settings when a common situation is that someone says something offensive, racist or sexist.

The person the comment is directed at laughs or shrugs it off.

However I am sitting there feeling terrible because the comments have been way out of line and it effects how I feel in my workplace.

While I never would say anything because I wouldn't want the backlash directed at me I definitely  think I should have the right to complain. I also should have the right to complain without people having a problem with my right to feel comfortable.

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YodaTheWrinkledOne
12 hours ago, Prancer is coming said:

I think it was handled fine.  The person may have thought the name she called you was about your weight which would have been confirmed for her when you grabbed your muffin top.  I imagine your team leader used their discretion. If it sounded like nothing they probably would have done nothing.  But I imagine the person witnessing it was offended, and it may have been about what she felt, not what it is assumed you felt.

To be honest, any comment about weight or that could be linked to it, will be sensitive to some people.  I would just let your friend know that you were not offended at all and did not report it, but given things can be interpreted differently by other people, you may need to drop the nicknames that may offend others.

Or at least be conscious of who is within hearing range before you start using nicknames (that are unrelated to work)

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Ruby red shoes

Is it possible the other person thought you may be offended but laughed so as not to make a fuss?

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born.a.girl
15 hours ago, Poughkeepsie said:

It does matter if what was said is offensive to someone who heard it in a professional setting. 
If they overheard something racist, sexist or downright offensive, and it was inappropriate to be said out loud in a workplace, I can see why it could be reported. That stuff is not ok. 

I thought this was a very important statement, in the absence of knowing what it was.

Knowing that it was a nickname that wasn't specifically related to weight makes it a bit trickier.   I'm not sure I've ever referred to someone as 'cupcake' but I wouldn't rule it out.

That said, if the person 'offended on your behalf' IS overweight, and finds those sorts of jokey nicknames painful, that might be relevant.

I spent my teenage years extremely underweight and still find any reference to people being 'skinny' (when they're normal), or a 'bean pole', again when they're normal, uncomfortable.

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DQMission

In my workplace, pet names would be a no-no. Its a workplace culture thing. 'Cupcake' wouldnt have been seen as a weight thing, it would have been seen as inappropriate conversation which could make others feel uncomfortable.

The only thing that gives me pause is that this person was asked to apologise to you, indicating the person who reported it didnt seem to be expressing their own discomfort. I think that while its great that someone thought they were looking out for you, in this instance I think their good intentions were misplaced.  Can you have a converation with the person who reported it and thank them for their concern but reassure them that you are ok? It may lead to that person opening up about what they saw in that interaction.

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Murderino
1 hour ago, YodaTheWrinkledOne said:

Or at least be conscious of who is within hearing range before you start using nicknames (that are unrelated to work)

I agree with this. I have a colleague who calls me “beautiful” as a nickname he rarely uses my name. It started when we did a social activity outside work. He is 30 years older than I am and is devoted to his wife (she died a few years ago) - I’ve never seen a couple so devoted to each other.

He would NEVER say it when others could hear because we both recognise it’s wildly inappropriate in a workplace.

Another calls me the full version of my name eg he calls me Deborah when my actual name is Debbie and I call him by his surname which is also a first name - eg James (I don’t remember how this started TBH). This is fine at work as we are using names and the worst that can happen is someone might say “oh I didn’t realise your names was ...” and we correct them.

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Dirty Cat

What if the OP is offered that the dobber was offended??

 

Which offended person is correct or get the 'right' to be offended more then that other??

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IamOzgirl
20 hours ago, Dirty Cat said:

What if the OP is offered that the dobber was offended??

 

Which offended person is correct or get the 'right' to be offended more then that other??

Exactly. 

The dobber is allowed to be concerned on behalf of the OP but the manager should have said, thanks I'll check in. 

If the dobber was offended then the manager again says 'thanks - i'll handle it' and maybe decide  the offender (lack of other descriptive word) only needs to apologise to the dobber - which is stupid. 

It like the sexual Harassment example above. The perpetrator should be disaplined appropriately - but not apologising to the receiver (the other male in the work place) 

Edited by IamOzgirl
Phone correcting dobber to robber.

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Prancer is coming
19 minutes ago, IamOzgirl said:

Exactly. 

The dobber is allowed to be concerned on behalf of the OP but the manager should have said, thanks I'll check in. 

If the dobber was offended then the manager again says 'thanks - i'll handle it' and maybe decide  the offender (lack of other descriptive word) only needs to apologise to the dobber - which is stupid. 

It like the sexual Harassment example above. The perpetrator should be disaplined appropriately - but not apologising to the receiver (the other male in the work place) 

I don’t agree.  If someone is offended by something and the context is reasonable, it does not matter if the person directly involved is okay with it.  Unfortunately, stuff like racism and sexism become so ingrained into society that we do not see them.  So if someone makes a joke that someone else thinks is racist but the two people involved (even if one of them is the race involved) think it is fine, it is still not okay.

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