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AIBU about this work colleague?

(44 Posts)
SickOfTheComments Sun 05-Nov-17 08:44:50

NC'd. I work with a particularly insensitive man who routinely makes offensive comments without engaging brain, then has to backtrack to an uncomfortable degree. He once told me I'd let myself go, then seemed mortified and backtracked to a degree that left me feeling humiliated (if I wasn't humiliated enough already).

He's recently taken a course on workplace equality, which basically covered how to behave professionally and treat everyone equally. I've done the course myself and it covers gender, sexuality, disabilities, age, maternity, etc.

Instead of helping the situation, he seems to have completely missed the point of the course and his behaviour has got worse. He makes a song and dance of anything that could be construed as a sexist remark. For example if he said "postman" he would suddenly look at me (just at me) and say "or postwoman...could be a this day and age we've got to be inclusive!", then he'll pull a stupid face and turn away again.

It just seems like he's turned the whole thing into a joke. He can never take anything seriously or exercise any professionalism or even common sense in relation to these sorts of things- he's got to make it into something to be mocked. Couldn't he have just taken the course and learned something from it rather than making it part of this whole slapstick routine we seem to have to endure on a daily basis?

He obviously sees it as a tickbox exercise - if he thinks he can prove he's being "inclusive" by constantly being OTT about it, then in his mind he's going above and beyond what is expected of him. The reality is it's having the opposite effect and the sexist traits are completely on display.

What do I do about this? Is there anything I CAN or even should do about this? I've made complaints to my boss before who apparently "has a word", but it just seems to escalate his behaviour. I hate going to work because of it.

Pollydonia Sun 05-Nov-17 08:50:18

How would your boss react if YOU were the one to " have a word" with this man ?
I had to do this as what a junior colleague said, in front of big boss , was horribly sexist and big boss was stunned into silence . So I sailed in .
My boss thanked me and backed up everything I said.
Would yours do the same ?

Haveyoutriedturningitoffandon Sun 05-Nov-17 08:53:28

Blank face. If you have RBF all the better. When he makes his stupid comments, stare blankly, then go back to your work.
If you feel he is breaking rules then keep a note of times/days/the incident, and report him to HR, but for the day to day stuff, in order to keep you sane, just blank looks, say nothing, don't give him a reaction.
If he makes a 'joke' then just say 'what do you mean?' And just repeat that a few times as he explains. When he has to explain why he's made a sexist joke, to a woman who blatantly gets it, but is making him explain why he thinks sexist jokes are funny, he may think twice next time.

SickOfTheComments Sun 05-Nov-17 08:54:42

My boss works off site a lot of the time so often does hear the comments. I often feel like I am telling tales and have to justify why I am making a complaint. I need to get out of that mindset and start to be more assertive, I know. If I said something when my boss wasn't around, and then contacted her to explain what I had said, I am sure she would back me up.

SickOfTheComments Sun 05-Nov-17 08:56:54

Blank face. If you have RBF all the better. When he makes his stupid comments, stare blankly, then go back to your work.

This is what I do. He sees my reaction (ie not amused), then begins the incessant backtracking.

Haveyoutriedturningitoffandon Sun 05-Nov-17 08:57:19

Sounds like he's the office comedian (and I use the term loosely) nothing deflates them quicker than not getting a reaction/not having an audience.
'Phil, I'm on the phone now, quiet please!'
'Phil, I've got loads to do, take it to the staff room please.'
Or, most effective.
Watch him. Silence. Blank face. Wait a second or 2 after he's finished then turn back round to your desk, say nothing, no reaction, and get on with your work.

SickOfTheComments Sun 05-Nov-17 08:57:58

This colleague is senior to me by the way, by quite some way.

BabsGangoush Sun 05-Nov-17 08:58:08

When he say' "oops, must say postwoman too" I think by joking about it he is still behaving in a sexist manner. Like, "Oops I'll get told - silly me for forgetting the ladies".

It's not professional, necessary nor in the spirit of why the course was put on.

How you deal with it is up to you. You could contact the person who facilitated the course and ask their views. Or can you approach him or a manager, or HR.

Haveyoutriedturningitoffandon Sun 05-Nov-17 09:00:16

Ah but you can ignore the backtracking too - I know it's difficult, but is it possible to have very little interaction with him apart from work stuff? If he doesn't talk about work then you ignore him completely?
You have my sympathy - I had one of these and that was I could do, ignore him until he got bored and moved on. flowers

SickOfTheComments Sun 05-Nov-17 09:01:45

Like, "Oops I'll get told - silly me for forgetting the ladies".

That's EXACTLY what it's like.

It's not professional, necessary nor in the spirit of why the course was put on.


I hadn't thought about contacting the course facilitators to ask their views, but I think that would be a good idea. I need a gauge of how it's viewed.

Sounds like he's the office comedian

Yes Haveyoutriedturningitoffandon that's exactly how he likes to see himself. He's very David Brent-esque.

SickOfTheComments Sun 05-Nov-17 09:03:55

The backtracking gets ignored. I literally sit there staring at my screen while he rambles on. Sometimes I look at other colleagues to gauge their reactions and they are similar- staring at screen and not engaging.

LaughingElliot Sun 05-Nov-17 09:04:26

What a complete dick. How old is he? Any chance he’ll die soon?

Angrybird345 Sun 05-Nov-17 09:06:32

Pick your phone up so that whenever he says stupid comments, he thinks you’re recording him. You’re not but....

YouCantArgueWithStupid Sun 05-Nov-17 09:08:42

Could you say something like

“Phil why do you say these things?”

I doubt he’ll have a proper answer then follow it up with

“I think you’re mocking the Equality Act by being so pedantic and maybe you need to do the training again? Do you think you might’ve missed the message Phil?”

Then head tilt and look really concerned.

Sounds like a class A Bellend OP you have my sympathy.

SickOfTheComments Sun 05-Nov-17 09:13:05

I would love to say that. I feel I'm in a difficult position because he's more senior.

ReanimatedSGB Sun 05-Nov-17 09:15:48

Oh dear, people like this are absolute hell to work with.
You could try ostentatiously writing down the date and time whenever he says something crass, I suppose. If he asks why, say you have been speaking to HR about his behaviour and they have asked you to keep a log of incidents...

user100987 Sun 05-Nov-17 09:16:12

I used to have a manager a bit like this. We were sat in a meeting once and he was getting angry about something and said something like ‘oh my god’ and then looked at the one asian person in the room and backtracked saying ‘or whatever you see as your god.. no offence meant’ or something ridiculous like that. Me and said Asian person just looked at each other and tried not to laugh out loud too much. Totally David Brent.

TheFirstMrsDV Sun 05-Nov-17 09:16:37

Maybe he is smarting inside and trying to cover it with his ridiculous comments?
If he has been an obvious arse all these years and was made to sit through and entire course point out just what a massive arse he has been, he is probably pretty angry/mortified/embarrassed (pick one).

All of the above can cause emotionally immature people to behave like your Office Arse.

Not sure what the answer is other than to blank him when he does it. Like you would a child.

SickOfTheComments Sun 05-Nov-17 09:19:43

user100987 Do they not realise it's offensive to highlight it and then backtrack for the sake of being seen to be inclusive? They don't actually care if it was offensive in the first place, they just want to be seen to cover their own backs which shows that there is no equality, only the veneer of it.

user100987 Sun 05-Nov-17 09:23:11

Just remembered what he actually said (as realise what I’ve put as his comment makes no sense) he said ‘Jesus Christ!’ And then the no offence comment. I just found it a bit pc gone mad but that was him all over and in this situation made a few of us feel uncomfortable (well - like we wanted to laugh at him).

YouCantArgueWithStupid Sun 05-Nov-17 09:23:20

I would find that seniority doesn’t play a role here. If he had said something racist, homophobic whatever ANYONE should feel they can pull anyone up. It’s not about pulling rank. It’s about people being arseholes.

YouCantArgueWithStupid Sun 05-Nov-17 09:24:39

FWIW I have told the Vice CEO of the company I work for that something he’d said was highly sexist and at the time I was about 6 grades below him.

user100987 Sun 05-Nov-17 09:24:46

SickofthecommentsbThat’s exactly how it was.

CheckpointCharlie2 Sun 05-Nov-17 09:25:19

I like reanimated's idea, get a notebook specially for noting down what he says and take it out every time he says something idiotic, being very obvious about it.

justilou1 Sun 05-Nov-17 09:25:22

"How about you just stop talking now, Phil?" "Quit while you're ahead."

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