You know, half-dead Dave, right? He’s been in accounts FOREVER.
Then there’s Yoda, who’s nearly as old as nearly deceased Dave, and MUST be close to retirement now.
Of course, you’ll know Jimmy Savile – we call him that not because of any crime he’s committed, but because he’s called Jimmy and his surname starts with ‘S’.
And finally, we’ve got Dolly – the Parton variety, who had to restrict his hours, and therefore we simply had to reference that he only works 9-5.
All of these are the kinds of nicknames you see flying around the workplace all the time, and I reckon at least a couple of them may have induced at least a wry smile for you.
Trouble is, all of these are REAL nicknames that have resulted in tribunal, with the employees winning their case.
Half-dead Dave? £25k and legal costs please. Total bill? Round about £50,000. Just banter though, right?
For the sake of total clarity, if your staff have nicknames that make other people smile or laugh, or are related to a protected characteristic, you’re walking a tightrope and you need to stop.
Sorry to be a killjoy, but even if the one nicknamed finds it “funny” or says they “don’t mind”, they can also change their mind at a moment’s notice and sue you for thousands of pounds.
Want to preserve your workplace’s right to “banter”? Get ready to write a blank cheque.