Before You Submit Your Question…….

Ask the Workplace Doctors is a FREE resource to help you find solutions to workplace communication problems. If you are thinking about submitting a question, the following information may be useful to you:

1. You may find the answer to your question in our archive of over 3,000 questions and responses. Look for the general category, on the right, then scan the Q & A’s.

2. Your name and email will not appear in our posted answer. An immediate response will be sent you via your email as soon as possible–usually within two days. If you scan our recent posted Q&A and Archives, you will see that all submitted questions are anonymous.

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Distracted by An Assistant’s Chatter

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about non-work talk:

I have a new assistant that starts the day with idle chitchat and every chance she gets tells me senseless info about her family and other employee’s. I don’t have time for the distraction or care about this stuff. May I repeat she says the same things over and over also, help?
She has a kind heart but just finds the need to talk to me and everyone about idle chitchat.
She got the job with non of the qualifications we really need for the job, so I think this is her way of avoiding the truth.

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How Can I Avoid Being a Lame Duck Employee?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about how to
respond to being pushed out of a job. 

Question:
I work in a very small office, one attorney and two legal assistants, including myself. I worked under an attorney who recently retired, and am finishing up working on his cases with the other attorney. However, the case load is very light, leading me to have little to do at times. The remaining attorney is still taking on cases, and has many on his plate at the moment.

My issue is with the other legal assistant, who was working directly under the remaining attorney. When I was first hired, I was promised to learn several skills, including bookkeeping. However, throughout my time here, the other legal assistant has constantly shut me out of learning how to do many of the office manager-type duties, things that I was told I would be doing when I accepted the job.

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Mentored Now Wants To Be Seen As Independent

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a mentor who is controlling and a desire to be seen as a lead specialist:

I work in a highly specialized field where I am one of three such specialist in an office of around 100. I came to my position three and half years ago during a sort of “phasing out of the old guard.” I was new to the profession and was expected to work up in terms of duties and responsibilities over three years. Another specialist came in a year later who is older and more experienced than me. The third specialist, I will call him Paul, has been in the field 25 years, 15 of which in our office. Personally, I get along fantastically with him and truly value his expertise and experience.

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How To Regain Good Feelings About Work After Forced Drug Test?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about emotions
after being required to take a drug test. 

Question: I was accused of being under the influence at my job, I was randomly drug tested and had to wait 3-5 business days to find out that I was ‘cleared’ to return to work. It was extremely humiliating because I was made out to be drug addict, and if not that then some other personality defect was causing me to act like I was on drugs. Very hurtful!

I returned to work and I didn’t even receive an attempt at an apology from any of my bosses that were so quick to accuse me. I had thought I was more valued as an employee than to be treated like that.

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What Does OSHA Say About Earbuds?

Question:
What does OSHA say about the use of ear buds in a manufacturing environment?

Response:
We have several questions and responses in our archives about using ear buds and/or ear protection, in work environments. Some of them have many links to articles. You may find it useful to go to categories and check out Music and Noise in the Workplace.

If you are asking about reducing harm from noise in the work environment, your best resource is the OSHA website. They don’t have rules about whether or not ear protection is worn, but they have advice about protecting hearing.

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How to Prove a Coworker is Lying About Overtime?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about overtime abuse:

Question:
How to prove your colleague is wrongly getting overtime? I’m inquiring because my coworker has been putting unnecessary O/T for a while now. He is conducting normal business hours duties on overtime after not working for majority of the business days. There is a lot more to the story, but I would like to start with proving his overtime abuse. PS My manager told me my coworker works after hours but does not get paid for it and I really feel strongly that is false.

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What To Do About A Problem Group of Coworkers?

A question to Ask the  Workplace Doctors about workplace conflict. 

Note to the author of this question: We sent our response to the email address you provided, but it was returned as invalid. We’re hoping you will come back to the site to see our advice about your workplace concern!

Question: 
I recently became president among the workers in our unit. The rest of our colleagues (whom we dubbed the Red Sparrows) are always sucking up to whoever new administrator comes to our unit. They badmouth our admin to us and if we agree with them, they report it to her. They expose our flaws which are already personal and has nothing to do with them. We tried to settle it personally face to face and they agreed but they still work underground and I still hear whispering of rumors. Worse, our new admin is a manipulative one and uses our faults to control us. What do we do? Please help.

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Is It Legal to be Fired Over a Facebook Post?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being fired
over a Facebook post:

I had a word spat with a co-worker and after going home and venting my frustrations to my boyfriend, he took it upon himself to message my co-worker on Facebook and threaten to “kick his as$.” I was fired for this threat 3 days letter. Is this legal? Do I not have a leg to stand on even though I didn’t do anything wrong? I had worked for this company for nearly 19 years.

Signed-Concerned Nurse

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How Can I Keep From Working Near the “Other Woman”?

Question:
I recently found out my husband was having an affair with a “friend” and coworker of mine. All three of us work for the same company in different departments and different buildings. However, this week, the other woman shows up in my office and is now working in my department. Is there anything I can do to get moved to a new department with out jeopardizing anyone’s employment? I don’t want to bring this painful personal issue to my work place but I cannot go to the office every day and see her.

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Should I Make Changes If I Have Been Fired?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about how to respond better to workplace conflicts and problems. 

Question:
Unfortunately, I lost my job recently due to my temper tantrum. There were MANY factors that contributed to this, but ultimately, I understand that I was the one at fault because I should’ve handled the situation professionally, addressed any concerns immediately and should’ve NEVER tolerated rude behaviors of others repeatedly.

However, I can’t help but still feel angry because I tolerated the unkindness and injustice from several people ever since I started working there. I was stuck working in the same room with one employee pretty much all day. She did not have a pleasant personality and constantly badmouthed other employees. She made problems out of nothing. She would curse and throw her tantrums when she was under pressure to meet deadlines. When someone came in the room just to greet me (sometimes both of us), she would get so angry that she complained about it to the owner. This list goes on. Everyone knew how she is, but decided to keep her around anyway, because despite her difficult personality, she’s good at her job.

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