Welcome, Medieval Times employees, to the Violence and Bullying in the Workplace seminar

Good morning, everyone. There’s coffee and muffins on the side table, so please help yourselves. I’m Pam! Welcome. I’ll be facilitating today’s workshop, Violence and Bullying in the Workplace.

Good morning, everyone. There's coffee and muffins on the side table, so please help yourselves. I'm Pam! Welcome. I'll be facilitating today's workshop, Violence and Bullying in the Workplace. After doing an assessment of your workplace culture I have some serious concerns about Medieval Times.

Firstly, this appears to be a workplace of near-constant rivalries, personal grudges, and intimidation tactics. I want us all to reflect on the psychological harm caused when you insist on fighting a colleague to the death using nary but steel and steed, simply because he is wearing a different colour of clothing than yours.

Numerous employees have reported to me privately that fully seven days a week, and multiple times on Saturdays, it is not unusual to be repeatedly lunged at by a sword-wielding coworker to the deafening cheers of any spectators who happen to be hanging around the office. This is discrimination.

There is simply no reason to bring weapons into the workplace, and one of my recommendations is to install a metal detector to help curtail this apparently rampant behaviour.

It's also not acceptable in the slightest to impale your colleague using the startling velocity of a galloping horse to assist you. Nor is it acceptable to bring a trained bird of prey into the workplace to intimidate and bully your colleagues.

Halberds, lances, swords — all of these things point to a deep distrust of each other, and I'd like to take you through some trust falls this afternoon to help improve the startling culture of suspicion and antagonism that seems to have taken root in this place of work.

I have also observed other, more minor violations of workplace behaviour that I would like to address. Referring to a female colleague as a "wench" is grounds for a sexual harassment claim, and I am baffled that more women haven't reported this ubiquitous put-down to HR. Do you guys even have an HR department?

I made some investigative calls to your company's other branches in Atlanta, Dallas, and Orlando. I was dismayed to learn that these locations are equally rife with similar workplace safety violations.

Listen. We all have armour on at work. You guys take that notion a bit far, but I get it: we are a society enormously focused on professional achievement, and in a world that rewards tenacity and toughness, we fear appearing vulnerable in front of our colleagues. I just feel you guys really take that to heart? Like, to an alarming degree? With the whole "actively wearing chainmail to work every single day" thing?

If we're going to transform Medieval Times into a workplace of respect and empathy where people stop actively fearing for their lives, we start by letting our guards down, don't we. No, like, actually, please take a moment and physically lower that weird sliding part of the steel helmets you're all inexplicably wearing, and join me on the carpet for some lavender tea and a sharing circle.

It would be great if the violently enraged horse could wait outside.

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About the Author

Sophie Kohn


Sophie Kohn is writer and producer with CBC Comedy, a stand-up comedian in Toronto, and a graduate of Second City's Conservatory program.