it wasn't the smartest comment in the world, but it is not like you said anything bad about anyone. What is wrong with liking ping pong? :) I should also point out that ping pong is popular in Japan; if you said "those Americans sure like their football", there would be nothing to be offended about--you were stating a fact that in no way perpetuates a negative stereotype.
If you were disciplined by this comment alone, it would definitely be overkill. If your employment was compromised by this comment alone, you would arguably have a wrongful termination suit. I really would not worry about it.
Let me know if I may be of further assistance. Thank you.
Nobody likes to be categorized, and there is a degree of subjectivity to the offensiveness of a categorization--which is why the comment was not a smart one. Still, I doubt that you meant that all Japanese like ping pong, but it is popular in that culture (as evidenced by the proliferation of ping pong tables at Nissan Japan).
But still, under the worst case scenario, no laws were broken unless you have created a climate or culture of harassment, fear or intimidation among your subordinates and any response from your union facility would need to be proportional.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).