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To report colleague for racism?

(194 Posts)
Madamecastafiore Thu 23-May-13 03:45:16

I just think she is incredibly thick but am finding it harder and harder to deal with her little gems lately.

Yesterday TB and whooping cough are apparently at epidemic proportions because of foreigners coming into this country.


She quite happily says, although lowers her voice a little (WTF) that her husband refuses to eat garlic as he couldn't stand the thought of smelling like a Paki!!!

I am in an office with her and one other woman who occasionally has a rant about foreigners taking jobs but am just about at the end of my rope with it. Ate these people just thick or I don't know, how can they think this is right?

I nearly said I felt sorry for her being married to a racist wanker but in all other respects she is actually a nice lady.

I can't ignore this can I?

enormouse Thu 23-May-13 07:38:36

That's beside the point really, claig. I'd report her to whoever's in charge of equal opportunities.
I find what she said highly offensive regardless of whether someone of ethnic descent was within earshot.

Pollydon Thu 23-May-13 07:38:42

Report her !! My extended family is mixed race & I had to be physically removed from my office by a manager after a colleague started spouting racist crap. Same colleague was genuinely horrified that I was so close to lamping her upset, she assumed everyone thought the same.
She was sent on an equality & diversity course hmm

MissAnnersley Thu 23-May-13 07:39:40

Karma and Christianity? Interesting.

The quote from Luke does indeed have wisdom in it.

You should report this if it is concerning you. I agree a confrontation could be unpleasant however a simple 'I couldn't disagree with you more.' would also be helpful.

I would have to say something but this is about what you feel comfortable doing.

getyourheadout Thu 23-May-13 07:40:08

report her for what ? just have the balls to tell her yourself if you dont like what she says , you sound like a child in the playground.

Abra1d Thu 23-May-13 07:45:24

Nasty thing to say about the garlic, but the point about TB, certainly, is what I was told by a nurse working in a hospital in Oxford--TB was on the rise ten years ago and they had linked it to the start of the big immigration rise. TB was very low in Britain before owing to the vaccination programme we had.

ButchCassidy Thu 23-May-13 07:48:12

I would report her.
I find the P word offensive, racist and unacceptable.
If she is stupid then she needs educating.
If she is a racist she needs educating.

claig Thu 23-May-13 07:49:56

"I actually thing it is ignorance rather than malice when she says things like this."

Exactly. And that is why you should yourself say something to her in a friendly way, rather than reporting her.

Pollydon Thu 23-May-13 07:52:55

getupurheadout Really ?
Not go through the proper channels and report ?

herethereandeverywhere Thu 23-May-13 08:03:51

Totally unprofessional to try to deal with this behaviour yourself. Reporting it is the appropriate thing to do (and you may even find some kind of obligation for you to do so in your employee handbook).

The idea that having a quick word like a grown-up will resolve the situation is wildly optimistic. It's far more likely to create difficulties for you in your working environment.

Go through the official channels, it's not your responsibility to try to deal with this.

StuntGirl Thu 23-May-13 08:08:46

It isn't about 'trying to get someone in trouble'. What I did actually stopped someone getting in trouble. It's about creating a positive working environment.

I would call someone on it depending on what they were doing. A colleague who was making repeated rape jokes was taken aside and quietly told to shut the fuck up. I knew him extremely well, I could speak frankly. Our colleague who was a victim of rape? Not so confident to call him out on it.

Sometimes that's appropriate, sometimes taking it to someone above you is appropriate I reserve judgement to do whichever works best in a given situation.

DumSpiroSpero Thu 23-May-13 08:10:01

Given that her comments so far seem totally ignorant rather than outrageously BNP level offensive (i.e. she's not saying we should 'round up the foreigners and shoot them'), maybe you could try answering back a bit before making an official complaint.

Perhaps next time the garlic comment comes up "But I bet your DH wouldn't refuse treatment from the doctors in the next office if his life was hanging in the balance?"


"Have you been to an Italian restaurant lately? Asian cuisine isn't the only one to feature garlic..."

Delivered calmly in a loud enough voice you might just embarrass her enough to pack it in without having to go down the official route.

If not, or she retaliates then of course report her as she obviously is more malicious than ignorant.

Purple2012 Thu 23-May-13 08:10:37

I've had to work with a colleague like that and I did confront her. We did have a bit of a row about it. She didn't change her views but at least she knew how strongly I felt and stopped saying things in front of me.

You won't change how people think and you don't have to have a row. If I were you I would just say tl her that you find comments like that offensive and you don't want to hear them. If she carries onddoing it then report. I doubt diversity training would make any difference to her views.

5Foot5 Thu 23-May-13 08:20:13

Do you never confront her about her outrageous statements? If you let them go unchallenged then she probably thinks you agree with her.

Personally I think it would be more effective if she had her views opposed by someone she knows and probably likes (you!) than by officialdom. If she is sent on a course or censured by management she might continue to think she is right but is the victim of "PC gone mad", whereas if someone closer to her disagrees with her she might take more notice.

claig Thu 23-May-13 08:21:47

'If she is sent on a course or censured by management she might continue to think she is right but is the victim of "PC gone mad", whereas if someone closer to her disagrees with her she might take more notice.'

Very good point. Diversity training is likely to be more counterproductive than a friendly word showing her the error of her ways.

Trifle Thu 23-May-13 08:23:51

Tell her yourself !

If she offends you then why do you want a third party to intervene in a conversation they have not heard.

LessMissAbs Thu 23-May-13 08:27:55

I would try and suggest to her first that her comments were offensive.

Offensive though her comments are, I just find "reporting people" a bit East-Germany-Under-The-Stasi like and also disparagable from a personal morality viewpoint.

The posting on mumsnet for support and almost gleeful self-congratulation, allied to the fact you haven't called the woman up on it yourself, make me think that too.

Why on earth wouldn't you speak to her first about it, since the remarks are addressed directly to you??

claig Thu 23-May-13 08:29:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

claig Thu 23-May-13 08:31:16

Sorry, posted on wrong thread. This was meant for the GMO thread.

Madamecastafiore Thu 23-May-13 08:40:17

Lesmisabs I'm not looking for any congratulations just advice. How pleasant to be do cynical!

I think after reading posts I will ask to speak in confidence off the record to our equality and diversity guy, he is also a lawyer and family therapist so is really good at giving advice about most things.

I am sure he will understand that it is more ignorance than malice and advise me to the best recourse to make her understand that it is not acceptable to say such things and whether he thinks further action is necessary.

Thanks for all of your advice.

MrsMook Thu 23-May-13 08:42:45

challenging her directly is the better approach. I'd save reporting for something personal or aggressive in tone rather than general and vague small mindedness.

How old is she? Is she of a generation where she doesn't realise how offensive certain words have become? I was shocked a few years ago when starting a new job in a pit town that the phrase Paki Shop was still normal vocabulary amongst teenagers. They had no idea that it was offensive or why. (And any mention of the German football team -world cup year- immediately brought up a load of drivvel about the war sigh)

XBenedict Thu 23-May-13 08:44:17

I think I would speak to her first rather than get the company involved just yet. You don't have to be confrontational and create a bad atmosphere between you but you can reply to the comments she makes.

LessMissAbs Thu 23-May-13 08:50:18

You shouldn't need advice not to tolerate racist or offensive comments. A quid pro quo you have so far tolerated them by not objecting - why on earth not? What is your reaction ie what do you do whilst listening to these comments?

Depending on her reaction to you objecting to the comments, then you might have grounds for "reporting" her.

BAUagent Thu 23-May-13 08:58:21

She may be a fool and speaking out of ignorance, but she's not stupid enough to say it in front of a manager is she? Therefore she must already know what she is saying is not right in some way, but is saying it to someone she thinks she can get away with it in front of. I would do both actually - when she says something like this again, say "you know that's racist don't you?" \If she blusters I would then say, "Well it offends me actually". She will soon get the message you are not complicit in her racist ways. Also have a word with your equality and diversity manager. This way it's flagged so you know you can escalate if she says something else in the future.
I understand that she may be regurgitating others opinions but she is presenting them as her own, and this is a way in which racism and bigotry is perpetuated, through ignorant people who don't think beyond what others tell them.

burberryqueen Thu 23-May-13 08:59:24

Just tell her yourself!
say something like 'I find your comments offensive would many others (hint hint)
you cannot really 'report' someone for being a wanker but the word 'paki' is not acceptable in a work context.

Casmama Thu 23-May-13 09:03:57

The reason you are now in this position is because you have not challenged the comments in the past. You have been complicit in the racism and would be spineless to report her to anyone without making the slightest attempt to challenge her views first.

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