Use of Workplace Nicknames


In some industries it is still common practice for employees to use nicknames for their colleagues. However, more and more cases are coming before the Employment Tribunals, whereby a nickname motivated by a protective characteristic will almost certainly be found to be discriminatory.

For example, in previous cases a wheelchair user who was nicknamed "Ironside" successfully claimed discrimination on grounds of disability and an employee aged 60 who was repeatedly referred to as "Gramps" won his claim for age discrimination.

Even if an employee does not seem bothered or does not report to you that they are not happy about a nickname, take steps now to stamp out the use of such nicknames or you too could find yourself before an employment tribunal facing a claim of discrimination.

Fiona Haworth. You can contact Fiona on

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