Newcastle City Council denies diversity training imposes ban on use of hinny and pet

Newcastle City Council has denied claims that it banned employees from using words like ‘pet’, ‘hinny’ and ‘love’ when talking to women.

An unnamed employee yesterday claimed that the words and other expressions, including ‘sweetheart’ and ‘darling’, had been banned on the grounds they could be offensive.

The employee said council staff had been barred from using the words, which have become iconic Geordie phrases used in cartoon strips and TV programmes, after attending an equality and diversity training course.

But the council said the claims were “misleading and inaccurate”, with a spokesman insisting there was no ban, but that employees had been told to make a “judgement” before using the words.

“There is no ban on words, such as hinny, pet, love or darling,” he told a local newspaper.

“The point made to council staff during equality and diversity training is that they must make a judgement before using these words as to whether they are likely to offend the person they are directed to.

“In the vast majority of cases, these would not offend, but we want our staff, as part of the equality and diversity training, to be sensitive to the needs of those in all of our communities.”

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