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Gossip not to be tolerated

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HC Online | 01 Aug 2011, 02:00 PM Agree 0
Spreading rumours at work is indeed a sackable offence, with the decision to sack a Global Cranes worker who spread “salacious” rumours being upheld by the workplace watchdog.
  • Bernie Althofer | 03 Aug 2011, 02:42 PM Agree 0
    I am certainly aware of individuals in organisations who love to have a gossip about a range of topics, some of which could directly breach Codes of Conduct. Pleading ignorance and saying "I didn't know" should be a statement of the past if induction programs are well conducted. In some organisations, induction programs and their content may not cover current trends and issues regarding legal aspects or decisions in relation to topics such as gossipping. Codes of Conduct may contain a range of statements regarding 'prohibited conducted' or behaviours that could lead to disciplinary action. However, the problem is compounded when the Code of Conduct is not freely available to all workers, or is not covered in Induction Programs. Using the grape vine to spread negative stories about social activities can lead individuals and organisations into confrontation through litigation. Whilst Codes of Conduct can 'prohibit' such activities (gossipping), workplace presentations have to ensure that individuals understand what is meant by 'gossipping' and what is meant by 'having a chat at the water cooler'. Some time ago, a colleague indicated that the way to deal with a workplace gossip was to ask them to repeat the 'gossip' in front of the person about whom they were talking. Some other colleagues have suggested that questions such as "How do you know this to be true"?; "Who told you this?"; or "Where you present when this happened?" The downside of gossipping is evident in this story. As a word of caution, I would suggest that if a co-worker approaches you and says "Did you hear about ...?", one should be prepared for the consequences when a complaint is made. Sometimes the old adage "If you don't have anything good to say about someone, don't say it" should be applied in all cases.
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