Gossip in the workplace is about as common as the daily arrival of UPS. Workers gossip about their families, their friends and whether Miley Cyrus should punch Annie Leibovitz in the face for that Vanity Fair photo.
But, workers also gossip about the boss. They gossip about co-workers. Sometimes it's not mean-spirited ("Did you know Daniel and Heather in accounting are dating?") but other times it is ("She's sleeping with the boss to get that job.")
I've been in plenty of workplaces where people gossip, but get their work done. I've also been in workplaces where people would shirk their duties even if they wore duct tape over their mouths. Sometimes the nicest, hardest working people gossip, and many people truly feel bad about gossiping.
Bosses gossip. They talk about another department head, customers and even their own boss. Maybe they don't mean to do it, but frustrations build and before they know it, they've made some personal comments about someone's character.
Let's face it: People in this country love to gossip. Look at the popularity of shows that do nothing but stage a 24/7 Britney watch, and the gossip rags that proclaim Doris Day is having an affair with George Clooney (and no, that isn't true) and the way gossip spreads over the Internet.
Realistically, is there a way to put an end to gossip in the workplace? Is it fair to fire someone for gossip when "everyone else does it?"