17 Things People Could Get Away With At Work in the 80s That Would NEVER Be Acceptable Today

In this post, we explore 17 awkward 80s moments that would generate outrage, or even legal action, in today’s world.

Lack of Workplace Diversity

Photo Credit: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock.

Oh, look, another middle-aged white dude in a suit! The 80s corporate landscape was predominantly white and male-dominated, with entire departments frequently lacking a single woman or person of color. This absence of diversity may have seemed ‘normal’ back then, but fast forward to today, and inclusion is not only a buzzword but a business imperative.

Casual Sexism

Photo Credit: progressman/Shutterstock.

Unfortunately, blatant and unchecked sexism was the norm rather than the exception during the 80s. If included in the workplace at all, women were frequently pigeonholed into secretarial or supportive roles, while men soared up the corporate ladder to the highest-paid and most prestigious positions.

Inappropriate Jokes

You Have a Good Memory for Jokes
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

With fewer campaigns for political correctness and little backlash for inappropriate humor, 80s office jokes often crossed the line into offensiveness. Japes that targeted certain genders, races, religions, or cultures were part and parcel of office banter. Such conduct would be frowned upon today, possibly leading to job termination.

Office Bullying

Photo Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

Forty years ago, office bullying was frequently dismissed or conveniently ignored. It wasn’t uncommon for employees to suffer abusive behavior from their colleagues or superiors without repercussions or an outlet for complaint.

Poor Work-Life Balance

No Work-Life Balance
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

We hear this term a lot nowadays, but such a concept would have been alien in workplaces of the 80s. With no allowances for family responsibilities or personal well-being, employees were frequently expected to sacrifice their personal lives for the good of the company.

Unhealthy Competition

Photo Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

Excessive, cut-throat competition was often encouraged in male-dominated 80s workplaces, with employees pitted against each other in an attempt to increase performance and force them into working harder for longer.

Poor Ergonomics

Photo Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.

Before scientific studies highlighted the medical risks of working long hours hunched over a computer in a cheap chair, associated health complaints were commonplace. Long-term problems like back pain, deep-vein thrombosis, or carpal tunnel syndrome plagued 80s workers, even if accurate diagnoses weren’t always made.

Rigid Hierarchies

Being in Charge
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Offices of the 1980s were characterized by strict hierarchies, which often hampered communication and innovation. Lowly employees never had a forum to voice their ideas or concerns and feared a backlash from superiors if they upset the ‘status quo.’.

Zero Mental Health Support

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Today, terms such as ‘burnout,’ ‘PTSD,’ and ‘depression’ are commonly used, but during the 80s, the importance of employee mental health was largely overlooked or diminished. Stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues were rarely acknowledged, and workers were expected to suffer in silence.

Discrimination Due to Sexual Orientation

Photo Credit: AlessandroBiascioli/Shutterstock.

Unfortunately for LGBTQ+ employees of the 1980s, open discrimination based on sexual orientation was prevalent, with very little legal protection available and little chance of repercussions for the perpetrators

No Remote Working

worker pay
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

In the 80s, a lack of digital communication meant that the concept of remote work was virtually unheard of. Employees were expected to be physically present in offices throughout the day, even if their work could technically be done elsewhere.

Casual Fridays

Working Hard or Hardly Working
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

A groundbreaking trend in the 80s, casual Fridays were an exciting end to the working week that allowed employees to ditch their formal attire just before the weekend. It was frequently considered a huge perk!

Blatant Sexual Harassment

Never Give Up
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

With women’s rights and gender equality yet to progress to modern standards, 80s workplaces were notorious for sexual harassment.

In many industries, it was a pervasive issue that was completely ignored or quietly downplayed. Subsequent lawsuits, heightened awareness, and changes in societal attitudes have made today’s workplaces far safer and more comfortable.

Unsustainability

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The 80s certainly wasn’t a time of environmental consciousness, and little thought was given to recycling, conserving resources, or adopting sustainable practices.

Increased awareness regarding our impact on planetary health has led to a dramatic shift in company policies, with many aiming to reduce waste, lower their carbon footprint, promote energy efficiency, and include sustainability as a crucial part of their business model.

Gender Pay Gap

Photo Credit: Nataliia Yankovets/Shutterstock.

In the 80s, significant differences between salaries for men and women were rife and rarely questioned, even when women did the same job as their male counterparts.

While this pervasive problem has not been eradicated even today, advocacy for pay equity has gained traction, leading to essential conversations, less oversight, and legislation that attempts to close the gap.

Unregulated Overtime

Working Overtime Without Pay
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Many employees of the 80s worked incredibly long hours, often without proper overtime compensation. The competitive work environment and disregard for a healthy work-life balance promoted a ‘burnout culture’ in which workers slaved away regardless of detrimental physical and mental health impacts.

Fixed Working Hours

Photo Credit: engagestock/Shutterstock.

There was little wriggle room regarding working hours in the 80s, with the standard 9-to-5 routine being the norm. Employees were expected to clock in and out at specific times, which was stressful and sometimes unachievable for those juggling family responsibilities.

READ MORE – 19 THINGS WE DO IN SECRET THAT ARE MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK

Photo Credit: maBerlin/Shutterstock.

Anyone who says they don’t have an unhealthy, embarrassing, or time-wasting habit is lying. We all have them, and some really aren’t great for us. Let’s look at 19 guilty habits that we should really stop indulging in.

19 THINGS WE DO IN SECRET THAT ARE MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK

BOOMERS HAVE SPOKEN: 18 TRADITIONS THEY WANT TO UPHOLD BUT GEN Z SAYS “NEED TO GO”

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

As boomers fondly clutch onto practices that evoke nostalgia, Gen Z is at the next counter, eagerly trading in the old for a dash of modern sparkle. From handwritten notes to digital memos, from piggy banks to digital wallets—the dance between ‘then’ and ‘now’ has never been more lively. Join us as we explore 18 traditions that boomers want to uphold but Gen Z says need to go.

BOOMERS HAVE SPOKEN: 18 TRADITIONS THEY WANT TO UPHOLD BUT GEN Z SAYS “NEED TO GO”

16 THINGS MEN KNOW (BUT WILL NEVER REVEAL TO THE LADIES)

Photo Credit: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock.

Have you ever wondered what men really think or do? Then look no further. A recent internet survey asked, “What are some ‘guy secrets’ girls don’t know about?” Here are the top 16 answers:

16 THINGS MEN KNOW (BUT WILL NEVER REVEAL TO THE LADIES)

18 BABY BOOMER SLANG PHRASES THAT MAKE MILLENNIALS SCRATCH THEIR HEADS

Photo Credit: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock.

While it’s easy for younger generations to feel like they’re steeped in slang, Boomers know that some of the best phrases have been passed down for years. Think you’re hip to all of them? Read on for 18 popular phrases of Baby Boomer slang. 

18 BABY BOOMER SLANG PHRASES THAT MAKE MILLENNIALS SCRATCH THEIR HEADS

20 THINGS OLD PEOPLE LOVE THAT THE REST OF US DON’T UNDERSTAND

Refer to Themselves as "Hip"
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Different generations enjoy different things, but have you ever seen something an old person loves and thought to yourself, why? A recent internet survey asked, “What is something that old people love that you don’t understand?” Here are the top 20 answers.

20 THINGS OLD PEOPLE LOVE THAT THE REST OF US DON’T UNDERSTAND