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Attitudes and Behaviours

Firstly, sorry if this is not the correct place to post this, I wasn't 100%

This afternoon, I was in one of our Transport offices speaking with one of our transport clerks.  A driver came in to discuss PPE and I could not believe the way he spoke to her.  

There was no swearing or anything but he honestly spoke to her like a piece of dirt on his shoe.  After he left, I could see she was upset but did not want to discuss this, I  have since spoken to her and she is considering putting in a formal complaint about him in the morning.   I have also had a report today of another driver speaking to our H&S Manager in a similar way after she pulled his truck over to speak to him about him speeding on the site.  It was the same again, just a very disrespectful attitude towards her.  Only a few months ago, another driver was disciplined for shouting and swearing at the same H&S Manager when she was only trying to do a risk assessment on his vehicle, she had to abandon the risk assessment and let the driver calm down before trying again the next day.  

I myself have had a few issues but it has always been in disciplinary or investigation meeting etc., where i understand that tensions can be heightened and things can spill over (i am not condoning this though) but things have usually calmed down when we adjourn and restart and I have always had an apology.  

I do not know if this is a problem with us all being female and in our 20s, if it just the way they are used to speaking to people, or if they just do not like 'authority' figures.  However, i am now worried that it is becoming a part of our culture where we allow people to speak to each other like this.

Does anyone have any tips for tackling this?  We have the usual policies on bullying, harassment etc., and I do plan on issuing these to all staff again, but is there anything else I should be doing?

Many Thanks, 

  • Not acceptable in my view. But a couple of points.

    The staff need telling/informing in clear unambiguous language that speaking to other staff like this is unacceptable and may/will result in disciplinary action.

    Having a policy on bullying, harassment etc., is all well and good, but to be 'live and listened to,' it needs to be used consistently and not just there in a filing cabinet. (You don't have to have a policy on being rude. Its simply up to managers to tell their staff that this behaviour is unacceptable as I've mentioned above).

  • Do you have supportive senior leaders on the site? They could help by challenging poor behaviour as it happens, making sure their own behaviour is a good role model for others and, if you have team meetings or shift handovers, these could be used to remind people about acceptable behaviour and the consequences of that found lacking.
  • There is a difference between using bad language which is common to an environment and being offensive/rude to people. I am not saying that people have to accept 'industrial language' because they have the right to be comfortable at work but it does require sensitivity and planning so that we are not seen as the HR language police.

    It comes down to commitment from the top and a plan to change things with education/good discipline.
  • In reply to Peter Stanway:

    Hi All,

    Thank you for your replies.

    We do not have shift handovers but do tool box talks so I think that this would be a good place for managers to raise this issue.

    I would say that our senior managers are realising that this is a problem within some of our departments and do want to tackle this problem, I suppose it is just going about it the right way, we definitely don't want to be seen as the language police, and i know that this can be difficult as i have come from working in a Port environment where everything was put down to 'banter' and industrial language...!

    Thanks for your advice, as always, it is much appreciated.