Tired of unprofessional people at work

This morning, I heard my boss and my co-worker -- who've worked together for 20 years -- saying things that would easily sound the HR alarms at any workplace. I won't elaborate as to what they said exactly -- it's far too vulgar for this family-friendly blog! -- but suffice it to say that they hurled vulgar sex jokes and f-bombs at each other, with inappropriate political discourse sprinkled all throughout.

Mind you, I'm no prude: I can deal with a little sexual innuendo here and there. But when people at work say things so crass as to gross me out, that's when I know they've crossed a line. I actually got into a tiff with the aforementioned co-worker last year when many of his sex jokes were becoming too personal. I finally confronted him around the holidays, and no sooner did he hear the words "human resources" come out of my mouth than he ceased to direct any bawdy jokes at me. I gave the guy quite a scare, it seems.

Once people's off-color remarks make you so uncomfortable that (1) you lose interest in your job (2) you're unable to concentrate on your work (3) you lose respect for the offending co-worker(s), a conversation with them is in order. No one should be given free rein to make tasteless jokes and comments in a professional work environment. It's things like this that make loyal, hard-working employees run to the competition, more so than low pay and crummy benefits. If there's one thing every person is entitled to at work -- or anywhere else for that matter -- it's respect. And if talking to them doesn't resolve the issue, you have every right to take it up with the HR department. If that results in someone getting fired, then so be it. They should have known better.

Ever found yourself in this kind of situation? If so, how'd you handle it? If not, how would you confront the problem?

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