Golliwog – racist or not?


Employers and employees need to be very careful, mindful and responsible when using “controversial” language in the workplace.

Author: Dennis Chapman
Reading time: 1 minute

This article is 8 years old.

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The Court of Appeal is currently considering whether racial discrimination existed in a situation where a white manager, whilst talking about Roberston’s jam, used the word “golliwog” in the presence of a black African-Caribbean colleague.

The ultimate decision will be interesting either way and may give blanket guidance or address only the specific circumstances and context.  

One thing is for sure.  Employers and employees need to be very careful, mindful and responsible when using “controversial” language in the workplace even if the speaker or writer thereof does not themselves consider it to be controversial or offensive.

Dennis Chapman

In remembrance of Dennis Chapman 1951 -2015

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