“Ask The Workplace Doctors” Is Still A Great Workplace Communications Resource

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For over a decade, Ask the Workplace Doctors, the site developed by William I. Gorden, Ph.D., of Kent State University, School of Communication Studies, has been a workplace communications resource for thousands of people, from around the world. You can still count on us to provide practical, reasonable, useful and compassionate advice. However, we are dealing with problems related to the appearance of some of the questions and answers and hope you will patient about those.

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There are Affair Rumors About My Husband and a Co-Worker. Can HR Help?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about how to handle a situation
in which there are affair rumors about two people who travel together.
Can HR do anything to help? 

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I found out (rumors only) from many people that my husband who is a manager is having an affair with a coworker. She doesn’t report to him, but they work on many projects together. One of the things on how this got started was their continually texting each other (company paid phones) and travel trips together. Is there anything HR can do? As an ethics situation, can one or both be removed from working together? We all work for the same company. My work has been declining as I am so stressed over the situation.

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My Boss Wants Me To Do Leadership Training

A Letter to Ask the Workplace Doctors about Leadership Training

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My boss asked me to incorporate leadership training into our Conference department to help benefit the team as a whole. I was eager to begin working on this, as I reflect back to my college experiences both in your class and the organizations I was involved in. Not only am I referencing team building activities I learned, but I’ve also started reading your books to help lead me in the right direction for my team.

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Anxiety and Depression Over Workplace Treatment

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about anxiety and depression caused by workplace conflict where an employee has felt bullied and ostracized for two years.

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Question:
A few years back a coworker shared with me her displeasure at finding out a new person was making more money than her….She found out by opening the new persons pay There was no reasoning with her and I listened to her rants daily. I finally spoke with a subordinate. Well it turns out I was made the scapegoat.

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Accused Me of Gossiping About Her

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about personal privacy.

I was falsely accused by a new colleague, what to do? A new colleague very unexpectedly during a casual conversation suddenly started yelling at me and accused me in gossiping about her for the last several weeks. She was loud enough to attract everybody’s attention. My multiple polite requests to calm down and discuss her concerns in one of the offices were ignored and she told that she heard me talking about her and discussing her with others. (more…)

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Toxic Environment for Vet

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a supervisor who shows up half the time he clocks in and management that allows that.

I have worked for this company for just over a year now and I have been through two Managers. My immediate supervisor and I are the only two in the maintenance crew and he takes full advantage of my work ethic.

Last year roughly 1500 work orders were put into the system, of which I completed 1100. My supervisor consistently comes into work one hour late, takes a two hour lunch and leaves an hour early. He gets paid hourly and clocks out online from his home computer. (more…)

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A Year At My Job. How Can I Get a Promotion?

A question to the Workplace Doctors about how to get a promotion in spite of limited tenure.

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Question:

I’ve done an amazing job in my position in a short amount of time. I want a promotion. We’re a small department and I’m the most senior person with my title and, again, I’m excellent at what I do (constant praise by boss on my work and I’ve really moved the company forward).

Another employer (not in my field) just contacted me and offered me an interview for a position they are trying to fill. I am somewhat interested in the position. More importantly, I am thinking of going through the application process to get the job so that I can use the job offer to negotiate a promotion and raise at the CURRENT job so that I can stay there (without moving on to a new job).

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Living With Past Violation

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a woman feeling violated because a departed boss had her emails monitored and distributed and had a guard watch her.

Is it legal for security to read emails I send on a work computer from a Gmail account, and then distribute them to other staff members?

I am a researcher in a basic science lab. I had a huge falling out with my boss 1.5 months before I was to be laid off (he was moving to another university). It is my understanding that he tried to fire me but couldn’t b/c he’d just given me a very positive review a couple months prior. (more…)

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Are They Talking About Me?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about feeling excluded because of the boss and a coworker speaking in a different language

My boss constantly speaks Punjab to one of the employees in front of me when she and the employee speak fluent English. Is this allowed in the work place. I feel like I am constantly being talked about due to the fact they only do it around me.

Signed Feeling Excluded

Dear Feeling Excluded: There are few things more aggravating than not knowing the language of others who are talking in your presence. Is it allowed? I know of no law against that. Do you want your boss to not speak in Punjab to this particular employee? I’m sure you have you considered how speaking to an employee in his/her native language is uniquely appreciated and probably more efficient?

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Where Should I Report Billing Staff for a HIPAA Violation?

A Question to the Workplace Doctors about a billing office employee who violated HIPAA by gossiping about a medical condition. 

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The billing office at my local hospital had gossiped with my previous doctor’s billing nurse. She in turn gossiped with the office staff. I ignored that incident. My current doctor is in a medical office building with the same billing department. Recently, while visiting my dentist, things were said to me that could only have come from the hospital billing department and my doctors office. To say I’m upset is an understatement. I do not want to ignore it this time. However, I do not want to change doctors as this doctor and hospital are the best in the area. Should I discuss it with my doctor, administration, or HIPAA ?

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