BANTER | Dealing with it in manufacturing

Workplace banter is a common occurrence in manufacturing environments. 

Banter on the shop floor is not unusual. Sometimes that shop floor banter moves to social media.

Sometimes ‘banter’ actually crosses the line and enters into the dangerous territory of harassment. With sites and apps such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s easier than ever for your employees to use social media to post images, comments or videos that bully, harass or victimise their colleagues, managers or others.

Social media is undoubtedly an area that causes employers headaches. There are plenty of risks and employers need to act to prevent discrimination and harassment occurring in their manufacturing business.

Discrimination and harassment in manufacturing

Despite more emphasis and efforts in this regards, women are still under-represented in the sector and can be vulnerable to harassment.

Likewise, many manufacturing businesses have a diverse workforce with workers of different nationalities, cultures and religions and there is the risk that they may face racist, xenophobic or discriminatory name-calling or jokes.

Remember that anything that an employee does during the course of their employment will be deemed as having been also done by the employer, irrespective of whether the employer knew or approved the action or comment constituting harassment. To avoid this, you must be able to prove that you have taken all reasonable steps to prevent employees from committing harassment in your workplace. A HR solicitor from Ellis Whittam will be able to support you through this.

Prevent cyber bullying and harassment

 Some key steps employers should take to prevent cyber bullying include:

  • Make sure you have bullying, harassment and social media policies in place.
  • Consider broadening your bullying policy to include cyber bullying.
  • Your social media policy should be clear and robust, clearly setting out guidelines on what is and is not permitted both at work and at home and the consequences of any violation of the policy’s provisions.
  • Make sure that employees are aware that any comments they make on social media sites either at home or outside of the workplace can have wider consequences. For example, if the individual’s profiles clearly states that they work for you and they post disparaging or insulting comments and/or images, this may have a damaging effect on the company’s reputation or business relationships.
  • You should emphasise that any comments, images or videos about their company, managers, colleagues, clients or service users are found to be offensive, discriminatory, defamatory or amounting to harassment or bullying will be subject to disciplinary procedures. These types of comments may amount to gross misconduct and could lead to termination of their employment.
  • Train your managers about how to deal with any allegations that arise.


For comprehensive Employment Law Advice, contact us now to discuss how we can support you. No matter whether you require hand-holding through the complex HR procedures or some strategic advice, we can offer a solution for you.