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Anti-gay views in the workplace

(172 Posts)
VenusOfWillendorf Mon 16-Dec-13 15:35:58

Last week, I went to lunch at our work cafeteria with some colleagues. We were chatting about what we had done over the weekend, and one of them said that he has participated in protest march against gay marriage in a city about three hours from where we live. I was quite shocked by this, and said I needed to finish something back in the office, and left the table. It was about halfway through the meal (I hadn't finished eating, neither had they).
My boss came to me in the afternoon and said that I'd come across as rude. I said that I found his views offensive and couldn't continue eating there. She said he's entitled to do as he likes at the weekend, and that I should perhaps apologise.
I don't agree with her at all. Am I being unreasonable?​

[Some background - the colleague in question I know to be quite religious (he's Christian, but I don't know which church). I am not gay myself (though my brother is) and can't stand any form of homophobia].

FunkyBoldRibena Mon 16-Dec-13 15:38:36

No don't apologise. I agree with you.

Although I'd probably have asked awkward questions instead of leaving.

DidoTheDodo Mon 16-Dec-13 15:40:03

I'd say you were not being at all unreasonable to remove yourself from a situation you were not comfortable with, and your boss is wrong to demand an apology.

But .... Please....all Christians are not homophobic! (Crumbs, we've even had fabulous blessings of same-sex relationships in our inclusive C of E church)

DidoTheDodo Mon 16-Dec-13 15:40:45

I think what I'm saying is that homophobia is unacceptable but please don't bring faith into it!

purpleroses Mon 16-Dec-13 15:40:51

I don't think walking away is an unreasonable way to behave. He is entitled to do as he likes at the weekend, but you accepted that. You didn't get into a row with him, shout at him or anything unprofessional, you simply made a polite excuse and left. I think that's quite reasonable.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Mon 16-Dec-13 15:41:01

They are entitled to hold offensive and ridiculous views on their own time. You are entitled to not listen to them in work time. Absolutely don't apologise.

I favor a light, breezy, 'oh such funny, old-fashioned ideas, even my Granny didn't hold' approach.

nennypops Mon 16-Dec-13 15:42:10

yanbu. You have the right to decide who you will or will not eat and socialise with. From what you say, you didn't tell him what a pig-ignorant bigot he was, even though that would have been fully justified you simply left. He should count himself lucky.

snippyMcSnippy Mon 16-Dec-13 15:42:27

I agree with you.

Not all religious people are homophobic.

VenusOfWillendorf Mon 16-Dec-13 15:42:38

Oh no, sorry if it sounded like I was saying that all Christians are homophobic. I'm a Christian myself.
His march was organised by his particular church though.

Tulip26 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:42:39

I would speak to your HR team. I think YANBU at all. If he was in the EDL there'd be the same outrage. It's all discrimation and there's no place for it in a modern office.

MrsSquirrel Mon 16-Dec-13 15:43:50

YANBU at all. Your boss is out of order asking you to apologise.

friday16 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:44:41

When you say "work cafeteria" I assume you mean "school canteen", because surely no adult could possible complain to a manager than someone left the lunch table early and isn't that rude?

NewtRipley Mon 16-Dec-13 15:45:18

Your boss did that? That's not on.

thebody Mon 16-Dec-13 15:45:43

your all entitled to your opinions as long as no one is breaking the law, but you don't have to listen to them or socialise with work colleagues.

your boss should keep her nose out of it.

BuffyxSummers Mon 16-Dec-13 15:46:07

YANBU. Remind your boss that homophobic comments aren't appropriate at work and you won't be apologising to anyone who makes them.

Perfectlypurple Mon 16-Dec-13 15:49:51

Yanbu. I probably would have done the same. I have challenged homophobic and racist comments at work in the past. I didn't change their view but they knew to not make the comments around me. Where I work if I reported them they would be in serious trouble so I guess that's why they didn't make comments after the first time! Luckily they don't work there anymore so I don't have to listen to them.

DorothyParker1 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:50:25

I really think you should complain to HR. Workplaces are supposed to abide by equality legislation and asking you to apologise because you don't want to sit and listen to some bigot spout his poison is sailing very close to the wind in this regard.

VenusOfWillendorf Mon 16-Dec-13 15:52:04

I don't think that he made a complaint. She (boss) was also at the table at the time. She didn't demand that I aplogise, but suggested that it might be an idea as he looked offended after I had left (!).
I do not want to discuss it with him at all. I know it will make me upset and angry and I don't need that with someone I have to work with.
I just wondered if maybe IWBU for walking off instead of making it an issue by walking away, as my boss seemed to think that way.

NewtRipley Mon 16-Dec-13 15:52:07

And what Buffy said.

dobedobedo Mon 16-Dec-13 15:52:17


One of our new members of staff is homophobic. The other night at the work christmas do he was ranting on "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!" and I felt like punching him in his stupid, bigoted face.

Instead I just turned around and talked to someone else, bit my lip. I did think about telling him I was gay to see how he'd react, but DH was there and I'm visibly pregnant grin

No doubt the issue will come up again - he's a loud mouth. I won't stand for it and I doubt my managers would expect me to either!

NewtRipley Mon 16-Dec-13 15:53:01

Maybe ask your boss what you should have done? Interesting to hear here response...

NewtRipley Mon 16-Dec-13 15:53:29

her response

NewtRipley Mon 16-Dec-13 15:54:20

Actually I'd be fucking annoyed at the idea I should apologise in the circumstances you describe. Bloody cheek of her!

TheNightIsDark Mon 16-Dec-13 15:57:38

Well Adam and Eve cocked it up. Adam and Steve may have made a better job of it.

YANBU. I wouldn't apologise.

JollySantersSelectionBox Mon 16-Dec-13 16:00:12

I am quite disgusted that your boss asked you to apologise.

Infact I'd be tempted to take him aside, tell him you found his actions homophobic and although he can do what he likes in his free time, that you never ever want the subject brought up infront if you again, and that he owes you money for having to leave your dinner due to his vom inducing prejudice.

Well maybe not the last part.

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