The Kids Are Kinder Than Your Complaining Coworker

, , , , , , | Working | May 6, 2021

We are a multinational company, with coworkers from the UK, Germany, and France. Everyone seems to get on really well and most of us socialise outside of work, as well. Part of this is sarcasm and banter. Some of the German guys struggled to understand, but after a few months, they are joining in with everyone.

We’re discussing our kids and families. One of my German coworkers is talking about how great his kids are. It’s all normal parenting stuff.

Me: “Well, you know what they say about German children?”

German Coworker: “No. What?”

Me: “They’re all kind-er.”

German Coworker: “I don’t get it.”

Me: “Kind-er, you know, like kinder. That’s German for ‘children,’ right?”

German Coworker: “Oh, yes, very good. English joke. I get it now.”

We laugh more at how bad my humor is and finish our break. I am dragged into Human Resources that afternoon.

HR: “There’ve been reports that you have been using racially insensitive and bullying language.”

Me: “News to me. What did I say?”

HR: “Err…” *Checking paperwork* “Something about berating one of the German workers about his children.”

Me: “I said German kids were kind-er. Did you actually speak to [German Coworker]?”

HR: “I, err… no. He is next.”

Me: “I suggest you do that, and maybe to the person making these allegations.”

I caught up with my coworker later that week to make sure that he wasn’t actually offended . Surprise, he wasn’t, and he said he felt more part of the team when we treated him like the English workers. The anonymous complainer was spoken to about exaggerating complaints. Hopefully, they got the hint.

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