It’s a sorry state of affairs when you are criticised for flying your country’s flag on your own front door. There are a few cases in the press recently that have caused some public upset and it’s made us ask whether political correctness gone mad and if it’s not just a tad high handed of the pc brigade to be assuming offence or upset on the part of people they haven’t even consulted?
The story that got us talking about this was that of ex-soldier Steven Rolfe. He painted the St George’s flag on his front door ten years ago. This year he was told to remove it by his landlord because it’s assumed to be offensive.
Muslim groups have criticised the landlord’s view saying it really isn't offensive. Ali Anwar, a Muslim representative on the Preston faith forum, said: ‘This is political correctness gone mad. As a Muslim it really frustrates me that organisations become overly politically correct and make issues and tensions where there aren't any. They don’t speak for the Muslim community. There is nothing offensive about the St George flag and anyone who is proud to be English should be able to fly it.’
Last month we had a client who was affected by an employee issue regarding a claim for possible discrimination. The employee in question had been working at the company for approximately seven months and had a role that had particular responsibility for ensuring safety and quality control. The item she had worked on came back as faulty and it was discovered that some key safety checks had not been carried out. This was a critical part of her role and had anything happened could have been potentially life threatening for the customer. The employee in question had actually signed off paperwork to confirm these checks had been actioned. Now this was a straight forward poor performance issue as procedures had not been followed so the employee was dismissed.
Where does the discrimination come into this? Well after the dismissal the employee’s partner contacted her manager to say that they were considering a claim for race discrimination. When asked what the grounds were he stated that since she had joined the company her work colleagues had been calling her “Jock” as she was originally from Scotland. Now she was introduced to everyone as “Jock” at her own request and had in fact been asked by her manager very early on if she sure she was ok about them calling her this. She had laughed and said it was fine. So why bring it up now and claim discrimination? Is this just a knee jerk reaction to the dismissal by using the discrimination as a tactical way of getting something extra from the company? Surely if she was that upset about it she should have said to her manager when questioned or informed him at a later date. Incidentally we recommend that nicknames are not used, especially those based on a protected characteristic.
We have to be so careful in the workplace these days. One comment taken out of context or someone expressing love for their country by painting a flag on a door and it can get blown out of all proportion.
If you have any issues like these in your workplace, get in touch and we’ll sort them out.
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