I'm looking for guidance on an issue that's been dividing my team, which is composed of 24 techie 20-somethings, in a very laissez-faire office with various inclinations all over the political and socio-economic spectrum. But we got one thing in common, and that is our love for our trade (Networking).
There are 2 particular members of the team who are very sensitive and opinionated, and as they have increasingly gained authority, they have started to impose demands on how the rest of us should behave.
Here are some examples:
- No eating meat in the office: One of them had complained to our bosses that the eating of meat in the office (all allowed on our area, as we are very often short manned and need to eat in our desks) offended her, being a longtime vegan and it made her sick.
- No jokes that could offend anyone from any minority: This one would seem a bit straightforward, but it stems from the fact that we have great banter with one openly gay coworker, who is often the first to crack jokes making light of his sexual orientation. All offenders got observations, and now making jokes about gays or something similar is now a suspension-worthy offense.
- No music in the office: I'd agree with this one (they noted it bothered them to hear music in the background while on a phone call) but they themselves break this rule whenever the bosses are absent or not paying attention, which I consider to be a blatant display of the power they wield in the office.
Earlier in the week we'd gotten banned from drinking in the office (a special tea we have in our country, allowed anywhere and everywhere, Mate, perhaps you've heard of it), but they were also the first to break the rule.
Upper management doesn't seem to care about all this. The rules are just enforced when the 2 main people complain, and they are enforced, to their fullest.
One of these 2 main people is being promoted to team leader, a job she's proven not to be able to do effectively; we were all a very tightly knit group in the past, but we are concerned her increase in power will threaten our employment, and that the lightest of slights will mean our doom when personnel review comes by, which has torn the group apart slowly but surely. Morale is low and we need to find a solution, pronto.
How do we navigate this situation?