I am a long-time fan of your blog, but I was bothered by your response to the writer in today’s post. (ES NOTE: Now it is yesterday’s post.) I agree that he needs to be nice to his co-worker. I agree that his attitude was awful. But you should not have called him an ass. Name-calling is not good.
— Still A Fan
You’re right. I should not have called him an ass. It was very unkind to real donkeys for me to do so.
As someone who is neither the boss nor coworker of yesterday’s letter-writer, I feel perfectly free to call him names. It’s immature, but therapeutic. However, were I his co-worker or supervisor, name-calling would be what H.R. and legal professionals refer to as “wrong”. In that case, I would need to translate my original statement into appropriate workplace terms. This would work: “If it weren’t insulting to real donkeys I would call you an ass. Instead, let me say that your attitude and comments are inconsistent with the standards we expect of humans in this office.”
— Evil Skippy
ES’s advice is close, but as usual not quite right for the workplace. Leave off the first sentence and simply tell such employees, “I expect you to treat all co-workers with dignity and respect despite personal opinions or feelings. You do not have to like or approve of your co-workers, but you do need to behave in a professional manner toward them at all times. Future insults or rude comments will result in discipline up to and including termination.”