For those of us that have been in the workforce for many years; you may find this ridiculous but in today’s world…this is how it is. What used to be what I will call “normal” just isn’t like that anymore. Some may think working is like being on pins and needles because everything now has to be written in a policy.
HR is never easy my friends…
Workplace Gossip: What Crosses the Line?
Is it gossip to spread the news that Jeremy and Mary are getting married before they have announced so publicly?
Is it gossip to speculate whether Carol in accounting is expecting her second child?
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling addressing workplace no-gossip policies raises this question: When does gossip cross the line from innocuous, garden-variety conversation to something so potentially hurtful, harmful or liable that companies are within their rights to forbid it?
What Is Gossip?
“Gossip” is endowed with several meanings. To some, it refers only to malicious or actionable talk about someone beyond the person’s hearing; some believe that gossip involves just untrue tales, while others think it can include truthful remarks. Still others consider “gossip” to be any talk of a person’s or institution’s affairs—whether personal or professional, innocuous or slanderous.
Dangers of Gossip
Workplace gossip can be very serious. Some negative consequences of workplace gossip are:
• Erosion of trust and morale.
• Lost productivity and wasted time.
• Increased anxiety among employees as rumors circulate without clear information as to what is and isn’t fact.
• Divisiveness among employees as people take sides.
• Hurt feelings and reputations.
• Attrition due to good employees leaving the company because of an unhealthy work environment.
In employee handbooks, many companies have formal policies restricting gossip. Given the recent NLRB ruling, how can they be sure these policies aren’t “overly broad” so as to become unenforceable?
Gossip Via E-mail
Company e-mail can be a particularly dangerous method of spreading gossip because messages may be easily forwarded to unintended recipients. Employees often treat e-mail communications like oral conversations, saying things they would never state in a letter or memorandum.
Companies should include an e-mail policy in their employee handbooks and educate employees about the dangers inherent in e-mail use. The e-mail policy should clearly define the extent of employees’ privacy expectations when it comes to communications via company equipment.”
All important information..this is why Employee Handbooks are sooo long…