30-Old Co-worker Hits On H.S.-Age

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about old 30 year man soliciting dates of underage employees:

I just turned 18 this year. I am a full time high school student and have a part-time job at a retailer. I am considered the “baby” of the company because I get very excited and I love exuding enthusiasm to customers. I love people; however, my company has recently hired this one male worker who is much older, at least 30 years old, compared to the many high school and college student workers, 16-22. He’s very out of place with his formal dress compared to the typical shirt and jeans the rest of us wear. I’ve been hearing rumors of dishonesty and just a feel of desperation from this worker.

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What Topics Should A Workgroup Avoid?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about topics that provoke debate:

I have a large group of women working in a small area. They are constantly bringing up topics that create a debate. What are some major topics that I should have them avoid?

Signed, Taboo Talk

Dear Taboo Talk:

Here’s a question we have not received before. Its answer can range from none to specifics. Possibly, the answer is to suggest that vigorous and even acrimonious debate helps this work group’s day go faster. You seem to assume that to tell someone not to think or talk about something can work, as if to say, “Don’t allow the words Ape or Chicken come to your mind during the next five minutes” can prevent that. This is to suggest that possibly a proactive approach would be to suggest some topics that would so interest this group of women-that they would find some topics invigorating and fun–rather than to order them to avoid debatable topics that might provoke alienation. One of our guest respondents sent the additional advice below.

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Losing Sleep & Coming To Work Is A Chore!

Question:

Thanks so much for your website. It’s helpful to see that I am not alone in having difficulty at work. Recently, I read the posting “Loner at Work Has Us Concerned” and I really appreciated your response. I am the “loner” at my own workplace. I don’t socialize that much at work as I have a very full life outside of the day job. I have a big family (though I don’t have children myself) and other commitments which I love and so really have no room nor interest in going out for lunch with the crew or the Friday night drinking and parties, etc. I have gone out with them a couple of times, but don’t really like it much. My lunch hour is the time I like to use for errands, sitting in the sun, planning or going for a walk. I don’t need to share much about myself and so I don’t. I realize that I am not in an ideal environment, but I am willing to do the work that I was hired for.

In the last month, however, going to work has been a chore. I have been losing sleep. I have been having trouble getting to work on time and was absent for a few days, enough for people to notice. My mind goes in circles about small conversations I have at work. I have been feeling depressed and it seems to get worse everyday. I do work in a poorly lit windowless basement 7.5 hours a day so that doesn’t help. I feel I am on the verge of being fired. I know this is a lot. Any suggestions?

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Are There Best Practices For Same Work Stations?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about workspace:

Do you have any best practices on sharing workspace? The situation is in a call center were we would have one person using a cube during a day shift and one person using the same cube during a night shift. There would never be a time when both were on shift together. Any feedback?

Signed, Best???

Dear Best???:

Have you considered convening a representative committee of employees or cluster group to brainstorm the dos and don’ts that may sharing the same space from shift to shift best for each other? That would generate rules and practices that are psychologically owned by the users. It might also generate ideas for making the overall environment more effective and pleasant. Will you send us what you come up with? We can then pass it on. Working together is an on-going interdependent process that at its best I call WEGO.

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How Do I Shut Up A Loud Co-worker?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about loud coworker:

I’m looking for advice on handling a distracting coworker. I’m a consultant, not an employee, so my complaint options seem somewhat limited. I work in Information Technology, in a high-walled cubicle environment. We cannot see our coworkers, but can hear them if the volume is loud enough. There is a really loud guy here, and he becomes louder when he gets on the phone, which is frequently. He spends 1 – 3 hours a day on the phone conducting personal business, much of which is extremely personal. He also will visit the woman in the cube behind mine daily, usually for 20 – 30 minutes, again discussing topics of an intense personal nature. I’m unwillingly informed on his every health detail, his kid’s problems with the Social Services department, sexual functionality issues, the nature and times of his fiancée’s menstrual cycle – the list is endless.

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How Can I Get My Boss To Honor Religous Absence?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about release for religious holidays: My manager signed off on this. When I called in to inform I was in a musical play this Easter, HR manager said I should show up for work.

I participate in a musical for my church every Easter and Christmas. Because of this I filled out an availability form with my employer, indicating that I could not work before 1:00 p.m. on Sundays. My department manager signed off on it and it was entered into my file.

This Easter on the instructions of my Human Resource Manager I called in two hours early and informed my store manager that I planned to take the day off When asked why, I told him honestly that it was Easter Sunday and explained about the Musical.

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Can I Stop Verbal Abuse By A Brother?

Question:

I’ve been reading about verbal abuse and so many times it applies mostly to romantic or parental abuse, but there is another form of abuse that is forgotten, and that is when a sister is verbally abused by a brother. Unfortunately, this abuse conditions her for future abuse. I have been helping a friend who runs a not-for-profit organization. While I knew he had some emotional issues, they were not causing any problems at the time. I have since been able to get for him a huge amount of publicity for his cause – and now things have changed. He has become argumentative, critical, hangs up on me, or answers the phone but does not speak. Could you please include some help for those who volunteer so they don’t have to be on this merry go round too. Thank you.

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Evaluation–All As and One B

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a difficult coworker.                                         :

I was recently given my evaluation where I received all A’s except for 1 B. (A being the highest and D the lowest). My work product and performance are excellent according to the attorney I work for. The problem was the B where there is this one coworker on our team that I don’t get along with because she refuses to be trained (although everyone else has) and asks me to do the things that she refuses to be trained on. She always does this via email and has gone to my immediate supervisor to say that I am unapproachable. Any advice?

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Slander/Libel?

Question:

My mother, an insurance agent who owns her own business, is dealing with an issue between 2 employees, Jules and Ann. Jules wrote an email to my mother to make a complaint. This email called Ann a “Nazi” and there were other phrases in the letter that completely tore apart Ann, who is the office manager. The problem is, Jules sent this email to other employees in the office. My first question is, does Ann have any legal right to sue Jules for defemation of character and the second is, was sending this email to my mom’s employees in the office enough grounds for my mother to fire Jules?

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Falsely Accused of Harassment

Question:

I’ll get right to the point: I’ve been falsely accused of sexual harrasment at work. Now, this individual is watching my private “online” life as well in order to search for evidence. I get so angry everytime I hear about it in the local rumor mil that I just want to quit but I know that would just give them the satisfaction of seeing me ousted. The bosses are not on my side and so far there has been no official word. What should I do?

Signed,

Job in Jeopardy

Answer:

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