Harassment, Bullying, and “Harmless Humor” or Joking Around: Perils and Risks for Employers Who Don’t Know or Understand the Differences and Legal Definitions

Event ID:12399

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CD Only                 $349.00 includes recorded presentation, slides, and Q&A
Duration: 90 minutes including question and answer session.
Presenter(s): Robert Gregg, partner, Boardman & Clark Law Firm, LLP
Price: $349.00, CD includes full audio presentation, question and answer session and presentation slides. CD option is subject to a $5.95 handling charge.
CE Credits: This program has been approved for 1.5 general recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR, and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.
Who Should Attend? HR, supervisors, managers, attorneys, financial officers, CEOs, in house counsel

“Humor” is important for stress relief, morale and creativity. Yet “humor” also results in bullying, harassment, defamation, even violence or other legal actions. It can create personal liability. When does a joke, a cartoon, banter or teasing go over the line? Do you have to sanitize? Must we be “politically correct” − and what "duty of care" do managers have to manage all the sensitivities of a growing racial, sexual, ethnic and religiously diverse workforce? This informative program addresses the issues with practicality and solid legal principles.

Too many employers just get it wrong when it comes to distinguishing between employee harassment, bullying, and “just joking” or playing around, and the consequences can be significant for both the employer as well as the injured employee. Where does the employer begin when it comes to understanding the differences between each of these behaviors? How can HR know where just humor ends and harassment begins, or the line between harassment and bullying? Knowing where one behavior ends and another begins can potentially reduce the employer’s risks and liability, and importantly act as the starting point for any necessary employer response to protect the victim. A starting point is with a good legal definition of what constitutes harassment, bullying and just joking around. Also, HR will need to understand the employer’s course of action when issues arise. Please join Bob Gregg, attorney at law, as he helps you to understand the legal differences between bullying, harassment, and just playing around, and provides guidance for the necessary employer response.


Just a sampling of what this webinar will cover:

  • Fun versus the law
  • Personal liability of business owners and key managers: the "undefendables"
  • Bullying "making fun of others"
  • Duty of care for the workplace
  • Where are the lines between humor and harassment?
  • Emails and other electronic problems
  • When teasing leads to violence
  • You do not have to sanitize; there is a great deal of "OK" humor
  • Guidelines for avoiding liability


Your conference leader for “Harassment, Bullying, and ‘Harmless Humor’ or Joking Around: Perils and Risks for Employers Who Don’t Know or Understand the Differences and Legal Definitions” is Bob Gregg. Bob is a partner in the law firm of Boardman & Clark LLP of Madison, Wisconsin. He has been professionally involved in employment and civil rights work for over 30 years. He has designed the work and service environment policies and procedures of numerous employers, schools and universities. He litigates employment and civil rights cases. As a founding faculty member of the Department of Defense Race Relations Institute, he developed anti-discrimination programs for military bases worldwide. As chief equal rights officer for the Wisconsin Personnel Commission, he was responsible for implementing some of the first anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies and practices in the United States.

Mr. Gregg is nationally recognized for his work on respectful workplace in education, employment and service provision, and has helped numerous public and private employers. A recognized educator and trainer, Bob has conducted over 3,000 seminars throughout the United States, and has authored numerous articles on practical employment issues, civil rights and management practices.

Bob Gregg holds a B.S. degree in business; master of social work; juris doctorate; and has completed all course work toward a doctorate in education administration. He is a national faculty member of the American Association for Equity & Diversity, National Speakers Association and serves on the board of directors of the Department of Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute Foundation.


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