As a manager I am pretty much against letting HR handle stuff like this. This is mainly because I've seen too many cases where HR, as outsiders being called in to solve an internal problem, ends up attracting too much attention with too little success. As such, my preference would almost always to be handle it internally.
If it were my team, I would call all of them into a meeting and put my foot down. Since I don't know the team (not even the size, which makes a difference), I don't have any specific suggestions but I would make sure that everybody leaves the room knowing any repeat of this behaviour would not be tolerated.
As for whether or not I would let the incident slide, I don't know. A lot is riding on hearsay since I wasn't around. In cases like this, where the penalties might be severe and the circumstances not entirely clear, punishing any party might backfire. This is especially true if its a big team and a lot of people got sucked into a single stupid moment.
By the way, all this only applies if your company doesn't have explicit procedures and policies regarding these incidents. If it does, I would suggest you get support from senior management before making any deviations.
( 8 months ago )
In our office people are from different backgrounds, races, caste and culture. Yesterday I heard heated argument among a group of coworkers. The discussion was about terrorism, and one of the group was blaming a particular community. The members of this community felt bad and in turn they started on the other community, and thus the environment was charged. This was all happening at lunch time.
What should be done by the authority to check this and avoid any conflict later on. This type of feeling actually destroys the team sprit and is very dangerous to growth. How to avoid this in future and create a healthy environment for everyone, irrespective of cast, religion and race?