The number of UK employment tribunal cases relating to the use of “banter” in the workplace rose 44 per cent last year, according to new research.
Employment law firm GQ|Littler found that the term is increasingly used in tribunals as a justification for allegedly discriminatory remarks or harassment.
GQ|Littler said companies can be found vicariously liable for any discriminatory comments by staff made “in the course of employment”, even if this falls outside working hours. Its research found that the number of cases in which workplace banter had been cited rose from 67 in 2020 to 97 in 2021.
Humour in the workplace is important — it can help boost morale and reduce stress. However, employees should be wary of making jokes that stray into offensive territory,” said Lisa Rix, senior associate at GQ|Littler.
“People should think about how that joke would sound being repeated back to them and whether they would feel uncomfortable trying to justify the comments if questioned about them,” she added.
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