ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Friday, July 08, 2011

When lifestyles clash in the workplace

What happens when a small team of workers reports serious conflict because one of among them is very religious and is horrified about the lifestyle of the others. When HR investigates they discover that the conversations of the others on the team (all of whom work in very close physical proximity to each other) would be considered within the normal range by most people.

For example: One woman is delightedly reporting the progress she and her lesbian partner are having with their plans to adopt a child. A man, who won a bunch of money gambling last weekend in Las Vegas is sharing his joy at his good luck. Another woman in the group recently divorced is talking about meeting some men and having new dates - just dates.

If you were HR how would you handle this matter? Clearly this is a clash of beliefs and your investigation disclosed that there was nothing untoward in the conversations and looking at "the reasonable person" standard, the conversations did not rise to the level of "hostile work environment."

Assume that this group must continue to work together and to stay in close proximity.

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