Is A Warning By Phone Enough?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about verbal warnings:

Can a verbal warning be done via phone or does it have to be done face to face? What’s the rule for giving a verbal warning?

Signed, Rules

Dear Rules:

A verbal warning can be 1) Verbal; 2) Via telephone; 3) Via fax; 4) Via written document or any other form of communication so that you receive the warning. If they want to send it by certified mail then you received a verbal warning if such a warning has been either designated as verbal or deemed to be verbal by a reasonable person. You sir, are obfuscating the issue. You have been warned not to obfuscate in the future otherwise you will receive a written warning in the opinion of Dan Kearney, Guest Respondent & HR Manager

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Signing A Verbal Warning?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about signing a verbal warning report:

A verbal warning is given, HR documents the verbal warning. Would you recommend the employee signing something acknowledging they received a verbal warning?

Signed, Warned

Dear Warned:

Yes, that would be ok if it states that it is a verbal warning. Also, if the warning was unjustified and assuming you were the one warned, you might explain why it was from your perspective. I hope this is the last of warnings and that you can work on a cooperative and harmonious working relationship–and still speak up for your self. Ego finds its sufficient space in WEGO.

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How Can I Stop A Manager Making Fun Of Me?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about manager talking about an employee:

About a year ago, one of the managers at the company I work for bought a house down the street from me. He is not directly in my chain of command, but he is several grades above me and is a manager for another group for which I don’t work.

Everything was fine until a couple of days ago when I was out in front of my garage working on my car. I had been doing my laundry, inside and wasn’t wearing a shirt. I briefly went outside in the front of my house in my driveway to replace the windshield wipers on my car while my clothes were washing. I wasn’t wearing a shirt.

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Supervisor Intimidated By Regular Employee

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about criticism of her boss: I hate going in to my job because of her, but I love working for this company because I know it is good for me. So what do I do? Her newly appointed boss is aware of her downfalls – should I talk to her boss?

My supervisor has been with the company 15 yrs and recently the company has made major changes including replacing the “older” employees with fresh, younger attitudes like mine. Well, my supervisor must be terrified of me because everyone around me can compliment me on things I do or tell me how nice I look, but not her.

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Boss Seeks To Document Failure!

Question: to Ask the Workplace Doctors about loss of respect.

Where do I start? I work in a financial institution, and I obviously understand the importance of following policies in regards to loss prevention. Recently, it seems like I cannot do anything right. I get written up for nearly everything, and live in constant fear that every day could be my last. I am an intelligent person with a strong background in customer service, and I consider myself to have common sense. Yet, I feel like I am working for an institution that is looking to document your failures. This is contributing to a negative energy in our office. There are several employees that feel the same way that I do. I am frustrated that I am having such difficulty doing a job that is not difficult, and that does not pay well, and it is crushing my self esteem. I try to remain positive, and learn from my mistakes, but I feel like I have no future with this company because of it.

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Watched For Seven Years!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about emotional break down:

I just found your site by accident, and I wish I would have found it seven years ago. I am sorry it may take a little time to tell my story and I know that you do not offer legal advise but here goes. I came to work in my present position seven years ago. I am a clerical support person for six social workers. They had a supervisor and I have a clerical supervisor. However, I did report directly to their supervisor and seldom had contact with my supervisor. He was horribly abusive to me, and on many occasions I went to HR about it. He constantly accused me of stealing and had people walk past my door and watch me constantly and even come over and check out my lunch while I was eating.

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False Allegation Of Harassment!

Question:

Two weeks ago I found myself the subject of a harassment case at work. A fellow workmate had contacted our firms personnel department and named me in his report as the cause of his harassment at work. An investigation took place within work and interviews were held. My immediate boss and his boss were interviewed, as was myself and another workmate, who my accuser had called as a witness. My personnel department contacted me last week to inform me that they had spoken to my accuser and told him their findings and asked him if he was happy with the findings and the way it had all been handled. He said that he was happy. I was never told what the findings were and no changes have been made in my workplace, i.e., no one has been made to move shifts, so I assume from this that the investigation found the allegations untrue. Could you tell me if I am entitled to know the findings of the investigation and, as I have been at my wits end with worry for the last two weeks, have I got any comeback against my accuser? I don’t know if it makes any difference but I am in Northern Ireland.

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I Don’t Like To Make Threats To Get Rules Obeyed!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about manager threats: Frequently I resort to statements like it is an expected behavior and you need to make a decision to accept it or consider looking elsewhere.

I am the manager of a diverse group of respiratory therapist at the only hospital in a community of 60,000. Sometimes it seems like pulling teeth to get them all to agree and act on the latest policies coming from administration, such as no smoking on company grounds including the parking lots. Frequently I resort to statements like it is an expected behavior and you need to make a decision to accept it or consider looking elsewhere. I would prefer employees would accept new rules and not push the envelope. How can I get the message across without implied threats?

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Martial Arts Instructor Put Down By Associate!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about coworker put downs:

I am a teacher in the martial arts and work with another female instructor. We have worked together for eight years. I feel that she abuses me and demoralizes me on a regular bases, although it is very sneaky and completely unexpected on my part. It will always be with a smile, but she will tell me things like I’m so gullible, she wishes I were a whole person. I’ve tried to talk with her, tried to tell her how I feel and that she hurts my feelings all the time. But it always comes down to being my fault, whatever it is. We work together every day as we have evening classes at two colleges in the same town. It seems there is just no way to get away from her and there is no one above us that I can talk to.

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A Co-worker Friend Might Be Laid Off

Question:

In a private board meeting, I learned that my best friend is about to be laid off. My friend is in the process of buying a new house. How should I handle this situation?

Signed,

Worried For Her

Answer:

Dear Worried For Her:

This is an ethical question we have addressed another time from another employee who was in the know of a termination of a friend. In that case the employee, who sent the question, knew her friend was about to be fired and was about to go in debt for a new car. If she disclosed that the boss was interviewing someone to replace this friend, the friend might quit early and it could get back to her boss that she was betraying a confidence. In a similar way, you are facing the same problem–your friend is in the process of buying a new house and is about to be laid off. What do you think you should do? From the little you say, I assume that what you learned what revealed in confidence.

If you hint to your friend, “maybe you should check with your boss to learn how stable is your job before you sign the papers of a new house”, surely your friend will suspect you know something she does not. And when the friend confronts the boss, undoubtedly he will suspect that what you learned at the board meeting had been disclosed–in Washington D.C. terms “had been leaked without the boss’s permission.”

Have you spoken with the boss, or whomever will be the bearer of bad news to your friend, to apprise her/him that this co-worker is in the process of buying a house, probably under the assumption that her job is secure? Once you put this ball in that individual’s hands, you have opened the door to the ethical dilemma you feel–wanting to help your friend and expecting the friend once she gets the bad news to confront you, “Did you know anything about this and if so why didn’t you warn me???” And because you know that friends do not lie to one another, you cannot say, “No, I had heard nothing.” The boss then should make her/his wishes known about what is ethically permissible for you to do or not do. Putting your self in other’s shoes, both a friend’s and your organization’s, is WEGO mindedness.

There may other ways to work through this should I or shouldn’t I say something. If so , please let us know.

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