When is Humor Inappropriate

David Granirer, counselor, discusses When is Humor Inappropriate

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David Granirer, counselor, discusses When is Humor Inappropriate
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Video transcript

Featuring David Granirer, Counselor

Duration: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

There are some forms of humor that are really inappropriate, especially in the workplace.

Anything that’s sexual in a workplace is gonna get you in trouble. It’s inappropriate. Don’t use it. Don’t do it.

Now, I say that, and yet, there are certain organizations, certain parts of organizations that break all those rules and get away with it, and those tend to be people who are frontline workers in small groups who are under a lot of stress and see a lot of adversity.

I would say police, ambulance, firefighters, people like that, often in these small groups, they break all the rules and they can get away with it because of the close bond they have. However, if you’re working in the middle of a big organization, don’t do it.

Now, there are other forms of inappropriate humor, too, humor that targets people’s flaws, people’s weaknesses; putdown humor is inappropriate. All that does is create a climate of fear and it increases the stress when people are afraid that their failings, their flaws are going to be targeted.

So whether that’s ethnic humor, homophobic humor, humor that makes fun of people because of their weight, size, things like that, all that does is create a counter – it poisons the atmosphere. In appropriate humor may be something that you see as funny, like, giving a gift.

However, if that gift contains a sexual message, especially if a man gives it to a woman coworker, that can get you in a lot of trouble. If you’re giving a gift and you want it to be humorous, it’s far safer to give a rubber chicken or a pair of Groucho Marx glasses; that keeps you safe and can’t be seen as sexual harassing.

If you’re in a situation where you get it wrong, it’s really important to apologize immediately and indicate that you understand that you did something that crossed the line. In workplaces and organizations, you’re HR people are really good to talk to in terms of what are the boundaries.

If you get it wrong and you keep getting it wrong, that can open the way to harassment charges and all that kind of stuff.

Presenter: Mr. David Granirer, Counselor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Counselor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.