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They’re Not Laughing At You OR With You

, , , , , | Working | November 25, 2021

[Coworker] thinks he is the funniest guy in the company, despite several complaints and several warnings from Human Resources about it. He has the unchangeable opinion that he “should be able to make jokes about anything” and “if you don’t like it, then you just need to lighten up.”

The problem is that he chooses deliberately sensitive subjects and he’s not even funny, just offensive. I doubt he believes the things he says; he’s just trying to be funny or liked. But it often has the opposite effect.

We are in a training session and [Coworker] won’t stop making stupid comments and cracking jokes. It gets to the point where no one can hear the trainer speak and everyone is clearly getting frustrated.

Me: “[Coworker], just shut up, okay? We are trying to listen.”

Coworker: “Oh, please. This is all obvious, anyway. Lighten up, will you?! Sheesh.”

He stops right up until the first break, so I leave it be. We come back and [Coworker] instantly makes a “joke” about white people and compares me to a slaver. It’s only me and three other learners in the room who are white.

Me: “Seriously, [Coworker]? Not okay!”

Coworker: “What? You don’t get to be offended.”

Trainer: “Everyone, please! I am trying to deliver a training session. I’m not sure what [Company] thinks about all this, but I need you to pay attention and keep talking to a minimum.”

We struggled through the rest of the day with minimal interruptions. After the session, I stayed back, thanked the trainer, and apologised for what happened.

The next day, [Coworker] wasn’t in, but he often has random holidays. After a week, I asked around. It turned out the trainer made a complaint directly to the head of HR. Being external to the company, they took it very seriously, and [Coworker] was suspended without pay.

I was asked if I wanted to make a complaint but I explained that I just wanted him to stop. They said that they would “make that happen,” and to be fair, when he did come back, the stupid jokes disappeared, and it was so much easier to get along with him.

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