Should We Fire Over Threat To Supervisor

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being sent home: I have spoke to the supervisor and 2 other witnesses who saw the altercation when the supervisor asked the employee to clock out and leave.

I had a situation yesterday where a supervisor had sent one of her employees home because he was responding to her in a volatile way and used curse words. He called her on her personal cell phone that night cursing at her and threatened to kill her. There is not proof of this threat other than the phone records showing his number called her. Now she is afraid for her life and has made a police report. She will not return to work as long as he is here. What are my options as HR to terminate the person who made the threat? I have spoke to the supervisor and 2 other witnesses who saw the altercation when the supervisor asked the employee to clock out and leave. I have written statements from them and the supervisor. Help!

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Tenant restroom left a mess

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about unsanitary conditions: each day there are wads of toilet paper on the floor, un-flushed toilets, menstrual and fecal mess smeared on the toilets and walls, etc.

I work for the company that owns the business building we’re in. On a tenant floor, ever since a new tenant moved in, the women’s restroom is left a mess daily. Despite several email reminders to all tenants (this email is sent to all as to not point fingers) on proper restroom etiquette and hygiene, each day there are wads of toilet paper on the floor, un-flushed toilets, menstrual and fecal mess smeared on the toilets and walls, etc. Other tenants are having to go to other floors to use the restroom, as it’s disgusting and they also don’t want their own guests dealing with the mess. I’ve tried emails to the tenants, checking who’s going into the restroom via our key-card system log, etc…but nothing seems to work as it’s a high-traffic bathroom. The tenant employs many “young” staff, and several seem to be making these messes. Before I discuss with our own HR staff to see what they think we should do, I’m asking you! Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you.

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Does Manager Have to Give Reason for Drug Test?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about drug testing:

I am a GM for a restaurant inside a retail store. One of my employees showed me pictures of another employee doing drugs. HR wants me to send them for a drug screen. Do I have to explain to him why I am sending him if he asks?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

Labor laws or state labor department regulations about drug tests vary from state to state. Many do not require an explanation to an employee, even if the test is not random, but others do. Your HR section would most likely know the state law about it. I realize you might prefer to not have to ask them, but you’d be better off doing so than being in error and creating a liability concern. One way to ask without giving the impression of having no knowledge at all, would be to ask, “I’m going to talk to Kevin when he arrives at work but I wanted to make sure I follow the company protocol about the terminology I use. What is the standard statement to an employee in a case like this?” You may also want to ask them if they have a protocol for a manager’s response if the employee refuses to take the drug screen, since that may happen in this case! Best wishes to you with this situation.

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Can I Be Fired For Lying In An Investigation?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about lying:

I work in retail where a customer phoned the shop complaining about my colleague how he has no idea what he’s talking about and how he needs to be trained. I apologized for what happened but told him that my colleague had said the right thing by directing him to customer service. The customer then told me I didn’t know what I was talking about and that I need training. Out of frustration I said “If that’s the case maybe you should apply for a job as a trainer and train us.” The customer asked for the manager and asked me my name. I told him I was the shop floor manager at the time and gave a name of the assistant manager who had left the company. The customer made the complaint and in the investigation I denied I said any of those things as I was scared I would lose my job. So, my manager said she will do a follow up as to what happened. At the second interview I started saying the same thing as before, but then I put my hands up and said “OK, I did say those things.” Then I explained that I was in a bad state of mind with family issues and the reason I lied in the investigation was because I was scared I would lose my job. Now my manager says she will pass it on to case management and let me know. I’m really worried. Do you think I could get fired?

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Fleas In The Office

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about pests at work: we are itching and scratching even if they haven’t already spread to our office.

There was a rumour regarding fleas in the workplace a week or two ago and like so many things here it only got ignored. Now the sightings have been confirmed by multiple sources and the placebo effect has already hit my department and we are itching and scratching even if they haven’t already spread to our office. Is there any UK/English law that states the infestation has to be cleared up before it is a safe working environment. Personally I am not allowed pets at home and until some sort of legal action or workers strike is threatened nothing will get done about this. In short, do I have any rights not to work in a flea infested environment?

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Can HR Ask Me This?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about personal sexual question:

If I have ever had sex with a co-worker? I am being investigated for this and have never fraternized with anyone. I work for a government entity.

Signed, Never

Dear Never:

HR is responsible for knowing what is going on that could impair the work of a workplace. When brought a complaint, Human Resources investigates. Can they ask if you have had sex with a co-worker? Apparently, HR asked and you don’t think they should have. Our site responds to questions pertaining to workplace communication with the exception of legal and medical matters. Your question implies there’s a legal answer to whether HR should or shouldn’t speak to you about sex with a coworker. There might be.

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Vague Written Warning

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about using profanity:

I received a written warning for using profanity. This incident happened a year ago when I had a different manager (who has since left the company). My former mgr and I discussed this incident and not only did she feel no action was necessary, in that same interview she delivered a steller performance review and pay increase. Now this incident is being brought up by my new mgr in a written warning along with 2 other vague incidents where dates, people, specific comments were not addressed. I have been with this medical company over 9 years and have never been written up before. Is it necessary for my mgr to give specifics? How would you handle a written response?

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Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about warning procedure:

Can a Supervisor issue a verbal warning before they have started their working day after witnessing unacceptable behaviour and does the employee have to sign an acceptance of the warning.

Signed, Can and Have To

Dear Can and Have To:

To ask, can a supervisor issue a warning and does an employee have to sign indicates you are thinking in terms of what is the rule, regulation and/or law. I know of no laws pertaining to giving and getting warnings. Our site addresses workplace communication, not legal matters; therefore, this should not be interpreted as legal advice. To the best of my knowledge, a warning can be given at any time when someone in authority, such as a supervisor, sees something that is unsafe, wrong in procedure, or defective in product, service or interpersonal relationship. An employee warned in writing is expected to sign it to indicate she/he has seen it. Also an employee warned can then submit a response to that warning. The importance of a warning is not so much if it has been given at a wrong time as is its message to an employee that wrong behavior needs to be stopped, prevented, and/or make right. A warning should be seen as an opportunity to clarify procedures that are unacceptable.

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Timeline for Removal Of Discipline Records

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about write-up records:

Is there a timeline when a write-up gets dismissed, in California law?

Signed, Seeking Answers

Dear Seeking Answers:

I’m sorry, but we are not attorneys and do not specialize in employment law. You can check with the California Department of Labor about this. Their website may provide some answers.However, I would doubt that there is any such law or regulation. In most states such matters are left to employers. If a company is unionized there are sometimes agreements about such matters. Usually the nature of the infraction is used by employers to decide about a timeline. Some employers maintain everything forever while others remove the records for very minor infractions in a year or two. Best wishes to you as you seek answers to your work concerns.

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