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#NotOK Here are 10 things you shouldn’t do in the workplace that used to be tolerated By MICHAEL GOSSIE

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ome of us can still remember when the three-martini lunch was an accepted part of a company’s work culture. But there are plenty of more practices that have become improper. “What are some of the things people can’t — or at least shouldn’t — do in the workplace that they might have been able to do 20 years ago?” asks Tracy A. Miller, a shareholder at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart. “Guys — you know who you are — listen up. You should no longer take a female subordinate lingerie shopping — supposedly for your wife — in the middle of the workday; invite a female subordinate on your boat and explain at the last minute that it makes sense to stay on it overnight; or take a female subordinate to a strip club as part of team building.” The most disturbing part of those over-the-top guidelines? “Those are just a few personal real-world examples that did not seem legally troubling to me — as an employment lawyer — at the time,” Miller says. In the wake of #MeToo, #TimesUp, Millennials taking business leadership roles, increased tension between races and genders, and a volatile political landscape, the workplace has changed. “Workplace humor has undergone a major transformation over the past several decades,” says Emily Johnson, an associate at DLA Piper. “What was once considered office banter is now creating serious problems for employers … Not only is the ‘joker’ potentially creating liability for the employer — and for him or herself — but the laughing bystanders who acquiesce are also problematic.” “We were just kidding” doesn’t work anymore, experts say. Characterizing the workplace as a “joking culture” has not been a successful defense, Johnson says. And with the changing environment in the workplace, legal experts from Arizona say there are 10 things you can no longer get away with that used to be accepted — or at least tolerated — in the workplace.

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AB | May - June 2019

1. DON’T USE PET NAMES “‘Honey,’ ‘doll,’ ‘copy boy,’ ‘Psycho Steve,’ or ‘the hot blonde in marketing’ are all examples of terms or descriptions that can be offensive and demeaning — not to mention potential bases for a harassment or discrimination claim,” says Lindsay Fiore, partner at Quarles & Brady. “Referring to all co-workers by their given name is most appropriate,” says Robert S. Reder, managing partner at Blythe Grace. “While this should be obvious, it often is not and we see numerous employee claims arising out of the use of offensive terms such as these.”

Profile for AZ Big Media

AZBusiness May/June 2019  

In this issue, we spotlight the healthcare leaders and innovators of 2019 and profile the finalists for the Industry Leaders of Arizona Awar...

AZBusiness May/June 2019  

In this issue, we spotlight the healthcare leaders and innovators of 2019 and profile the finalists for the Industry Leaders of Arizona Awar...