How do you fight Revenge when someone claims you've harassed them with HR?

My co-worker claims I racially harassed him, by listening to a joke that another co-worker told "How do you tell a Portuguese from a Portagee? The Portuguese explored the world on a boat. The Portagee swam." I said “Oh… Stupid?”. This co-worker was doing a really poor job in his new position. He thinks his managers were out to get him fired. Then he was assigned to me and I was the project leader. I reviewed his work and made him make over 20 revisions to the 6 documents. He was overdue in his work and on the day we were to have been completed I participated in the casual conversation above and he over heard it. The co-worker was Portuguese. The other guys tells these types of jokes periodically. I was then called to HR where he sited me for slander and racial comments. Can this stick? I'm not a supervisor and I have no authority as such.

Asked By: sakura4eternity - 8/26/2006
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
This is an old problem - Can someone who knows of the harassment but doesn't act upon it, be liable and punished... More
Answered By: PatV - 8/26/2006
Additional Answers (3)
I don't see how you can be held responsible for someone else's comments. Just because someone talks to you, doesn't mean you participated. Anyhow, it's a stupid joke as well. I doubt this will be a problem if things went like you say they did, the person who told the joke may get warned or made to take a class or... More
Answered By: onthesly27 - 8/26/2006
I doubt it, unless you have a documented history of having problems with this type of stuff. But be cautious, because you now have something documented, I would go back to HR and make sure that it dosent get put in your record. Sounds like this guys job performance needs to be documented. Make a case against him before... More
Answered By: Harley - 8/26/2006
This is a tricky case...not because of this particular incident but because speaks about your current suitability to lead an activity. That said, as a supervisor you must strive for establishing a worker-friendly environment. I am not in the political correct patrol put your first directive is to be certain that you... More
Answered By: alrivera_1 - 8/26/2006
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