What is “in” or “out” of bounds for office discussion? Where’s the line between good-natured joking and hurtful teasing? Employees have become increasingly, well… sensitive about sensitivity training with the workplace collision of shifting generational values and language.

This clip from “The Office” can help break the ice before entering these precarious discussion waters. The scene is funny because it’s uncomfortably close to the truth, with characters sometimes saying out loud what employees might be thinking. It presents the perfect opportunity for clearing the air, correcting misconceptions and getting your employees on the same page before starting your own (much more polished and sensitive) sensitivity training.


What did you relate to in this scene? What made you uncomfortable? Why?

Why do people think it’s okay to tease each other about sensitive topics?

If our office made a “Do Not Mock” list, what would you add?

Where might co-workers say that you are insensitive?

How would increased sensitivity improve office morale and what can you do to help make that happen?

Where should a person go to report persistent, inappropriate insensitivity?




Bryan Belknap, an award-winning screenwriter, is Creative Director at Resonate Pictures, which specializes in story-based training and branding films. He will be speaking at SCCE Compliance & Ethics Conference in Las Vegas.

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