personal radios in the workplace

Question:

Is there anything posted by OSHA, DOL or any other authority that you might think of that would prohibit personal radios or mp3 players in an industrial workplace setting. This question seems to be getting out of hand and the only way administer a policy to be consistant would be a safety reg. stating no use of same.

Signed,

Tired of the noise

Answer:

Dear Tired of the noise:

Hello! Dr. Gorden responded to your question a few days ago, but I wanted to clarify it. (Let me know if you didn’t receive that one and I’ll send it again.)

The response Dr. Gorden used, which was one I had sent to a manager in another work environment, primarily pointed out the issues to be considered if a policy was going to be established. But there are no federal regulations that apply in a general sense to such things.

Some jobs have OSHA requirements for ear protection–musical devices don’t count. But I have researched it and can’t find an OSHA regulation prohibiting such devices. A policy about audio-entertainment devices (and that is the correct term, to make sure you include music, books and other things on tape or MP3 format) should come from the company involved, not a federal regulation.

There are jobs in which no such devices should be allowed ( a security job for example, where people need to be able to hear soft noises). There are other jobs where such devices might be useful (a boring or routine task that does not require close concentration, where music might help the overall work).

That’s why I wrote the information that Dr. Gorden sent to you, because it reminds managers that nothing about the subject is easy to deal with!

My general feeling is this: Employees are hired to do a specific task and they are paid to do it. Other benefits, including such issues as audio entertainment devices, are granted at the discretion of the company, and they should develop the policies about it.

My experience has been that the problem usually ends up being one of inconsisent enforcement of the policy–which means some supervisors and managers need to be reminded of their responsibilities!

I hope this assists you. If you have further questions, let me know. Best wishes.

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Thank you for your advice

Question:

Dear Ms. Rowe, I wrote you awhile back about a problem at my work, the question title was I lost my temper now what? I want to thank you for your advice. I could tell you put some thought into your reply and I appreciate it. I did use your suggestions, I organized my thoughts and would not let them smooth the problem over, and the manager agreed to talk to Greg about the fist pounding etc. Greg did stop the behaviors and it was like a dark cloud had lifted! I realized how intimidated I was by his behavior. Able to finally think and concentrate on my job without him acting awful I realized that the problems there go way deeper than unprofessional behavior. For example, they are an aftermarket auto parts store. I sold a customer some expensive brake rotors but our supplier did not have them in stock. Greg asked me to repackage some very cheaply made ones and pass them off to the customer as the expensive ones. I refused, he did not insist and the matter was dropped. At that point I realized that I only wanted out. It is a very small company, no HR department and Greg’s lack of ethics and common sense were disturbing. I wanted to find another job before I left but shortly after that Greg started his muttering and tantrum throwing again. I emailed the manager and was very direct with him about Greg. I told him that Greg did not seem able to handle his position (yes, I found that I did report to him). I also suggested that I report to someone else that was not Greg. The manager actually deleted the message from my sent file while I was at lunch, told his boss that I made too many mistakes and his boss fired me. I considered informing the big boss of what really is going on but you know… it occured to me while I was in his office that I am LUCKY to have been let go. So I said okay and got out of there fast. I am now considering whether or not I should tell them that I got several orders that I did not have a chance to fill before I left, if I don’t call they won’t know and will lose the sales. I could then ask for written references ( I say written references so I have some control over what is said) but I actually feel that they are pretty close to sociopathic and I’m not sure if I want to have any contact with them. You said in one of your responses to me that I might not want to be really drastic with them because it might be a safety issue. I didn’t see it at the time but you were so right…anyway I really do appreciate the advice and thought that you might find my story interesting. Kim

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In love with my collegue.

Question:

Hello,

I am in love with one of my collegue.I worked with him in my last assignment.I fell in love with him only after i left that assignment.Now he’s in a different building.So i dont get to see him.But i still like him a lot. But i dont know whether he likes me or not.I feel he doesn’t. But i saw in orkut that he’s written a testimonial for a gal.So i felt that he likes her.Now i dont know what to do. whether to leave him off or not.But i am in love with him so much that i cant forget him.Every day and night his thoughts come into my mind. Please help me out in overcoming this.and suggest me what do i need to do.what would be better.

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Given title but asked for hourly pay

Question:

I need to ask you a big favor: that you take my question (and your answer to it) off the website.

I am afraid that if my manager were to read it, he would certainly recognize the details of my problem and my writing style. He may be offended, and I don’t want to add more strain to our working relationship (though there is nothing there that I have not already said to him also).

Signed,

Need a favor

Answer:

Dear Need a favor:

I’ve taken care of it. I saved a copy in Word in case you ever want to refer back to it. But I deleted the exchange of information from our archives. Best wishes to you!

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Follow up to cubicle complaint – silent treatment

Question:

Thank you for the comments from my previous enquiry. You asked for more information so here goes: I moved into his space after his previous cube mate left unexpectedly. We were friendly at first but he grew increasingly distant. Yes he talks to others and is quite charming and obsequitious on occasion. No one would think such a nice guy could be the cause of any problems, and I don’t feel like carrying on a conversation with myself every day. Sometimes I will ask him work related or open ended questions; he is either curt and abrupt or atother times has more to say, (especially when he is reporting a new achievement he has scored. Lately he has taken to spending most of his time on the phone talking loudly to his girlfriend or hisbrothers, they speak in Lebanese and it is very disruptive and annoying. He also comes in later, stays later and takes overly long lunch hours. I can’t believe people around me don’t notice. Instead of causing more bitterness, I have taken to wearing headphones and trying my best to focus on the job. Still it is lonely, since I am new to the workplace, and I feel we are both stuck with each other and uncomfortable. I don’t want to lose my job. Is the head phones the best I can do for a solution? Please advise, Anne Ottawa, Ontario

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VERBALLY ABUSED?

Question:

I used to see this guy for about 2 yrs. We weren’t together, but we slept together and talked on the phone for hours. Anyway he did say I was pretty, but he would ask “Why do you wear your hair that way”? When we were having sex he asked “Did you used to be fat”? (In reference to my stretchmarks.) I was quite thin in college about 99lbs. He told me somebody called me a crackhead, I said “Who says?” He said “I do” He would say these things at different times, I never knew when they were coming. He also pointed out a”cellulite” wrinkle and said “You might want to get that taken care of before you’re 30”. He said he was trying to help me out. He also called me weird, more times than I could count. These things would make me feel horrible. Also whenever I wanted to talk about our relationship, he would always blow me off say I was whining and accuse me of always being a victim. This and other things have made me feel so low, unattactive and just gross. I am I being too sensitive?

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Employee dating married employer

Question:

I supervise an employee that is dating my boss. She does not respect my authority. My boss says I can demote her if she is not doing her job but I cannot fire her. This is very frustrating. My boss denies the relationship but it is very obvious to myself and my other employees. Help!

Signed,

Frustrated supervisor

Answer:

Dear Frustrated supervisor:

Hello! I sent you an email asking for some follow-up information, but it was returned as no such delivery address. Perhaps this will get through. If it does, please respond to let me know, and I’ll ask my questions through this format.

Thanks! Tina Rowe

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Followup to “I’m New Here”

Question:

Well, I have been at this job for about six weeks now, and I am getting along much better with my coworker, Sherry. I have pretty much figured out most of what I need to be doing, so I don’t have to have her standing over my desk all the time telling me how to do stuff. She is actually a really nice lady, but she is so uptight sometimes that she’s like Jekyll and Hyde. I often don’t know how to react to her because she is blatantly rude and condescending every day starting at about 11 am. She gets to work every morning 30-60 mins before anyone else, even though there is no reason to. The SECOND I walk in each morning, she starts barking orders at me in a very annoyed tone of voice, before I have even sat down or gotten coffee or anything. I don’t respond well to this, so I usually just go “Uh huh,” and go about my business.

After this, she will usually be conversational with me for awhile, but I’ve noticed that every day, by about 11 am, she is completely on edge and will stop talking pleasantries and only opens her mouth to point out my mistakes or complain that everyone treats her like she’s stupid. I don’t coddle insecure people, so I ignore this.

She almost never laughs at anything, and if anyone ever talks about anything that is not directly related to the work we are doing, she gets very annoyed and can be really mean. There is a loan agent who was hired a few months before me and he is about 30, and she treats us both like we are her kids. (She is about 50 and has kids in our age group). He and I joke around a lot with our boss and with people from other departments, and she never joins in the conversations but instead says disdainful things like, “How on earth can you find that interesting?” or “Why do you care so much about that?” or “That’s just stupid.” I find this intolerably rude and am afraid that one day I will just snap and call her a bitch.

She still does the thing where she comes over to my desk and goes through everything on it, and she does it to the 30-year-old loan agent also. She pickes up everything and goes, “What is this?!” “Why is this here?!” “Did you fax this to so-and-so?!” “You’d better not forget to (insert routine, non-time-imperative, unimportant task here) or you’ll get yelled at!” If there is something on the desk that our boss asked me to do–especially if I need to correct a mistake–she will shove it in my face and say, “Scott didn’t like the way you did this! You need to fix xyz or he’s gonna yell at you!” So far, I have never seen him “yell” at anyone. I have noticed, however, that Sherry seems terrified of anyone she thinks has authority over her, and that she loathes them at the same time.

She also takes it upon herself to remind me daily of routine tasks that are done at the same time every day. If it’s 3:25 and I’m be finishing up something for our boss, she’ll get nearly hysterical and say, “Remember to do the abc daily report at 3:30!!!!” If it’s a minute past 3:30 and I haven’t started on the abc daily report, she’ll say, “You’d better call corporate and tell them that the abc daily report will be late!!!!” Even though I have until 4:30 to finish said report, which only takes 5 minutes to type and email. She will be really nice one second and then really bossy and rude the next second. It gets old. I know that it’s common for older coworkers to treat younger ones like their children. I can also tell that she is just a very uptight person who can’t relax, but that is not my problem. I am still having a hard time dealing with her, and my normal response to this sort of treatment is usually to snap at someone. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Feeling treated unfairly as volunteer worker

Question:

I prefer not post my question/answers to your site, would you please? Thanks. I work at meets as a volunteer at a sport club that my kid is a member. My club friends of the same ethnic group and I some times are treated differently that made us feel uncomfortable. We were interrogated like “What are you doing?”, implying that we were not doing our job even if they were not the supervisors of any kind, but simply a volunteer co-worker like ourselves. My friends and I felt so uncomfortable that we would not contribute any more than what was required. Still unhappy things happen. In the recent meet, I was serving breakfast while one woman who helped hospitality approached me saying that I was not supposed to be served at that time, but later. She said that I was to be after the officials and coaches as food was limited and she was there at the meet preparing the food since 6:30am. Actually at the same time, the meet announcer was inviting all the volunteers to serve breakfast and other volunteers were sitting at the table to eat a short distance from where I was. She came to pick on me. I got very irritated because I did not see the point of her stopping me when the food was already in my plate and touched by me. All I could see was her intention of bossing me around because she worked longer hours. So I threw away the food right in front of her eyes to protest. She selectively pick people to boss around and it happens that I heard of other complains about her in the same meet from my other friends of the same ethnic group. In the club, our kids are high performers. We were once very enthusiastic about contributing to the club, but our feelings got hurt so badly in different situations. My tolerance reached to the limit and I exploded, but felt I do regret to loose the cool. In what way can I let those people know that we diserve respect and equal treatment and our tolerance is limited when we are targeted to be picked by and bossed around?

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