Diversity Can Create UncertaintyIf everyone at work was similar to you it would be simple not to offend. There might be unspoken rules about off-limit subjects and acceptable ways to communicate. In diverse workplaces cultural norms vary. It can be harder to tell who you might upset by saying the wrong thing. You may sincerely believe that you aren't coming across as abrasive. After all, your friends, family and work buddies never complain.
Definition of Offensive CommentsIf beauty is in the eye of the beholder, offensive remarks are in the ear of the receiver. Each person will weigh what you've said against their own sense of what's tolerable. If they consider your remark offensive they'll see it as one or more of the following:
- Personally repugnant, in violation of their moral or decency standards. For instance if you make a sexually suggestive joke.
- Personally insulting, like when you belittle their work performance or intelligence.
- Bigoted, as in judging others based only on their skin colour, religion or political beliefs.