‘Too thin-skinned!’ Ulrika Jonsson shares her fears as ‘workplace banter’ complaints soar

Ulrika Jonsson discusses marriage and divorce on Lorraine

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Lawsuits involving “banter” at work causing offence have increased by 45 per cent this year, according to research by law firm GQ Littler – and Ulrika Jonsson is convinced that Brits are becoming too over-sensitive. One 69-year-old plumber received £25,000 compensation after being branded “half-dead Dave” over his age, while another office-worker was labelled a “dinosaur” after going through the menopause.

We are often too quick to call out bullying from a simple joke

Ulrika Jonsson

Recalling that the woman who’d been regarded as a “dinosaur” had received a £30,000 payout, Ulrika questioned whether the world has become “too thin-skinned”.

“Certainly, when I last worked in an office environment – some 35 years ago – you had to have pretty thick skin,” she recalled.

Now, however, she fears our workplace culture has gone too far in the opposite direction.

“We are often too quick to call out bullying from a simple joke,” she exclaimed.

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“There is some truth in the old adage that offence can only be taken and not given.”

Ulrika added that there is a “huge part” of her that actually misses workplace banter.

She admitted that since she began working from home, her only company is the dog.

She concluded jokingly in a column for The Sun that perhaps she is simply “desperate for human company”.

However, cancel culture, combined with compensation lawsuits, seem to have made many people anxious about laughing and joking in case their intentions are misinterpreted.

Ulrika made it clear she’s firmly against racism or homophobia, however, she believes that some of the other jokes might have been taken too seriously.

She also added she believed that most “right-minded” people knew when to draw the line and what the difference was between a light-hearted jibe and an inappropriate and offensive one.

Ulrika, who has also admitted to mixed feelings about the “neutrality” of her home country, Sweden, has nonetheless caused offence online herself recently.

In a separate Sun column earlier in the year, she had commented on a hospital trust in Brighton and Sussex which suggested to midwives they could “refer to mothers as birthing parents and the act of breastfeeding as chest-feeding”.

The new terminology had been adopted in a bid to make trans or non-binary parents feel more included.

However, Ulrika challenged: “Why can I not enjoy being called a mother? I don’t want to be a ‘birthing parent’.”

She added: “Why does traditional terminology always have to incite negative connotations?

“At what point am I allowed to stand up and say my breasts are called breasts because that is what they biologically and organically are?”

The comment caused offence among some members of the transgender community.

However Ulrika insists she is not transphobic, and merely feels proud to be female.

Pink News also commented that “birthing people” was being used as an additional term, alongside the conventional label of “mother”, instead of replacing it.

After claiming she had been a victim of “cancel culture”, Ulrika then took a guest slot on the panel of Piers Morgan’s TalkTV show Uncensored.

She was replacing Sharon Osbourne, who had temporarily rushed back to LA to nurse husband Ozzy after he fell prey to Covid.

Piers had vowed that he would use the show to “cancel cancel culture” and provide an environment where people could openly engage in debate without the fear of reprisals.

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