“Ask The Workplace Doctors” Is A Free Workplace Communications Resource!

For over two decades, 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.

Ask the Workplace Doctors invites you to:
•Ask a question about your workplace communication problem.
(We cannot respond to medical questions–please talk directly to a medical professional.)
•Search for answers in our archive of over 3,000 questions and responses.
A NEW FEATURE!
Share your “Good Feeling Workplace Moments”!

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Managers and Supervisors Won’t Promote Me

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about having
a non-supportive supervisor and manager

Question:

In the place where I work, a few managers hate me because they are racist. I want to get a promotion, but I’m afraid they will turn me down. Even if I get the position they will annoy me a lot, because they don’t respect me.

The only thing I do that they might not like is that I turn my head and do not say “Hi” to them. They are not my managers now, but if I get a promotion they will be my managers. My supervisor says bad things about me because I am smart and he feels jealous of me. So, I need a miracle to prove how much I work. That’s why I am so serious at my workplace and don’t smile.

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Micromanager Makes Me Hate My Job

After 10 years of being the top performer in my division I am suddenly being micromanaged in ways that are seriously harming my productivity and destroying my morale.

In the past 10 years I have produced over $63 million in documented personal productivity for my employer, which is almost 8x the average for my division and more than 2x that of my next closest co-worker. I’ve gotten consistently outstanding performance reviews ever since I started this job, and continuously sought out challenging professional development opportunities. I have developed cutting edge technical tools, processes and skillsets that are respected regionally and even somewhat nationally (I am invited to speak at conferences and seminars fairly often). (more…)

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A Feel Good Moment From Helping A Subordinate

I am faced with all kinds of wonderful challenges every day. Some days are tougher than others and I always keep in mind how important it is to help others as they are coming to me and my teams for assistance.

I recently had an employee approach me about getting an office set up at their home due to a sick spouse and wanting to be able to work from home on the chemo days. The employee understood prior to the request that we don’t tipically setup home office equipment for office workers and asked me to make an exception. They stated their spouse is very ill and would need to work from home to take care of the spouse on chemo days. (more…)

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Concerned That Wife Might Harm Employee

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about what to do to prevent
a jealous wife from harming female employees. 

Question:
My wife is adamantly opposed to me being around other women for any reason. Unfortunately I run a business where I need to hire them. I am constantly, verbally attacked, accused, etc. of being unfaithful on all levels. Her verbal attacks are so out of control the other day she threatened that if I didn’t fire the new hire, she would see to it that the new hire would be gone. My wife has zero authority in the company and nobody there has any idea of this insanity I deal with. I brought it up at marriage counseling, this new threat, but the counselor just let it go since the wife said she wouldn’t hurt anybody. I am worried about the safety of my employee. I can’t sleep at night I am very afraid my wife will go to my office and completely lose control and actually hurt someone. Any suggestions?

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How Do I Handle a Bigot?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a lead who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions:
My team lead is not a leader. She is unapproachable, arrogant, inconsiderate and downright mean. This girl’s significant other also works in the same building and it adds fuel to this fire. A positive? She’s good at her job and knows her stuff. She moved up quick and management is her fan.

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Should I Quit Over Concern About The Affair of Two Others?

Question:

I’ve been employed by an international multi-million dollar company that manufactures and sells medical instruments, for over two years. My question pertains to the specific location I work in. Just over a year ago, one of the Human Resources associates began having an affair with a department Lead, who is married. At least that’s what everyone (not an exaggeration) says. The Lead has admitted to it, but the HR associate hasn’t and probably won’t. They often collaborate on work-related projects and she (HR) gives him (Lead) commendations and publicized thanks in the form of company-wide emails for whatever help he provides. Their flirtations are obvious and occur anytime they’re in the same space together.

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Can I Put a Letter in My Personnel Folder After Being Fired?

Question:
Can a terminated employee have something entered into their personnel file after termination? I was fired after four days of work, before I could speak to my manager regarding hostile or unfair treatment from the person who was supposed to be training me. The manager never knew. I want it added because I was fired and was not given an opportunity to discuss it with her. Since the company may not mail me copies of my personnel file, will I still be able to view it one time?

Response:
Your question is a follow-up to an earlier one, in which you provided details of what sounded like an ineffective training and hiring/firing process. This is the first question.

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Cramped Cubicle

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about cubicles:

My department was recently moved to a new cubicle row that hadn’t been utilized much prior. The reason it wasn’t used before is because there’s not enough space in the aisle. I sit in the middle and even with asking people to squeeze in to their desks, I still have to squeeze through to leave the row and they want to fill the remaining empty desks. I’m fairly thin and I have difficulty. I don’t even know how our larger people manage. (more…)

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Can I Be Fired By Someone Who Is Not An Employee of the Company?

Question:
I was fired from my new job by the owner’s girlfriend who is not an employee at the company. She fired me at a time that both my manager and owner were not in the office. I was fired after only four and half days of training. The excuse given was the company was going in another direction and I was not a good fit and wasn’t grasping the duties.

I was told when hired I would have at least two weeks of training. When I took the position they were over a month behind with billing, bonuses etc. I learned the program and bonus structure in two days without a written training manual. On day three my manager did not know that there was not a training manual for this area. She asked a senior employee to write one. That employee created a flyer format manual that had about eight steps. I brought them to two days shy of being completely up to date.

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Photographing A Coworker’s Timecard

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about
photographing time cards
:

We are an Ohio business and our volume of business rises and falls weekly due to the nature of our business. With that said, there are times when one or two employees are told to stay home for the day; this is all done evenly across the board so no one employee is singled out. A certain employee feels he is being treated unfairly and was seen taking pictures of other employees time cards. The time cards contain only the employees name and week ending date, no social security numbers. Are there any laws regarding this employee taking pictures of other employees’ time cards?

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