Daughter Harassed

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about daughter being verbally harassed by some employee.

My daughter works at Dunkin Donuts and is being verbally harassed by some employees. She’s reported it to the manager and the district manager and nothing is still yet to be done. She left work today crying all the way home because of the way she’s treated. They called her a bitch among other names. She’s very depressed over the situation. She already has a depression issue and is on meds for that. Every time she goes to work, I get text messages telling me that they are all ganging up on her verbally. She’s a basket case. What can be done since management isn’t doing anything?

Signed, A Mom Distressed

DearĀ A Mom Distressed:

Once a mom always a mom and that’s one blessing your daughter will always have. She feels helpless and so do you. Your daughter told you she reported that she is harassed and that she reported it to her manager and to the district manager. So far, she says the harassment continues. She takes medication for depression and texts you her coworkers are ganging up on her.

With this summary, from a distance, I make these suggestions:

-Your daughter has a health problem that comes first. She probably needs to consult a doctor and counselor in addition to addressing her unhappy situation on the job. Meds likely is not the only or best solution for depression. We don’t provide medical advice. You need to get that kind of help locally from your family physician and specialists.

-Harassment is a problem that Dunkin Donuts should investigate, and I predict its managers will do so, if a formal complaint is requested. Harassment is a real concern to a company such as Dunkin because there are laws against it and management is responsible to take reasonable measures to investigate it and to stop it. She should submit to her manager and mail to her district manager a written, signed and dated request that harassment of her be stopped. This written request need not contain specifics of the harassment. Management and probably the company’s Human Resources are responsible to investigate that. Your daughter and not you is the person who should make this request.

-Also help your daughter prepare a careful description of what, when and who called her such names a bitch and other incidents describing ways she texted they ganged up on her. Spell out the task she was or was supposed to be but wasn’t doing when she said she was harassed, and the words she used if she responded to it. State if she asked that it be stopped. Document when she began her job and when the harassment began. State when and what she complained of harassment to her manager and district manager. Such an account will serve as evidence once an investigation is conducted.

-Possibly your daughter’s distress is due to lack of training, her inadequate performance, and her attitude. You can’t know because you are not there on the job with her. But since your daughter has spilled out her distress to you, talk with her about how to cope while this investigation is pending and conducted. This coaching can include encouragement to arrive at work a few minutes before time for her job to begin, grooming properly, following rules for jobs assigned, cheerfully taking instructions and interacting with coworkers, avoiding gossip, tending to business, and even language to use when and if she is verbally abused. For example, is she is again called a bitch, even if done so playfully, she can say firmly, “Please, I’ve said before, my name is Alice. Don’t call me or talk about me that way ever again.” So mom, hopefully your empathy for your daughter will help her deal with this distress and separately with her depression. Does she have the education for the kind of job that will make her self-sufficient and a happy camper?

Can you help her think about Dunkin as a career or what she might learn from this job that will help her to work she might find more suited to her talents? These are the uncertain questions that need to be addressed by young people and their parents Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS is my way of summarizing my hope that this stressful situation might be transformed into one of learning how to cope now and for the challenges that are before her.

William Gorden