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

Ask The Workplace Doctors has almost 3,000 questions and answers
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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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Co-Workers Angry That My Complaint Led to a Termination

A question to the Workplace Doctors about how to respond to anger over the termination of a coworker.

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I have worked with a toxic coworker for three years. Recently he brought a knife to work and threatened me with it. My company investigated and terminated him. Now a few of my teammates are angry at me and there have been insinuations that I went to HR because of the other employee’s race. Some say I was motivated by jealousy. How do I handle the aftermath like a professional?

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Ten Feet Isn’t Far Enough Away To Breathe

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about restroom odors:

I work in a very small office, 6 people total. My desk is literally 10 feet away from the restroom. Several of my co-workers use this restroom daily to dump. They each sit in there, sometimes as long as 40 minutes, doing their business. When they come out, the smell is horrendous. There is a can of air freshener in the restroom, but only one person will use it. When she does, she uses so much it hurts to breathe. I’ve only worked here a few months, but I’m at my wits end. I can’t complain because my female boss is one of the worst offenders. It’s the craziest situation I’ve ever experienced. What is wrong with people??? What can I do?
Signed,
It Hurts to Breathe

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Employer Employee Texting Day and Night

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about if it is legal for an employer and employee to be texting.

If an employee and employer were texting each other for 2 months day and night, is that a legal issue for the employer?

Signed, Legal Curious

Dear Legal Curious:

Our disclaimer suggests that we don’t answer legal question. Even a legal answer to your question might be “It depends.” An attorney could provide you an answer in light the context of the situation and size of the workplace. For example if the employer was married and his spouse made the affair cause for divorce, that could cost the employer dearly.Why do you ask? What is your position in this situation? How do you know the texting is day and night and is in fact an affair? If you are one of the parties doing the texting, you have a lot to think about should an affair of a superior and a subordinate sour. That could affect the reputation of the company if sexual harassment were charged. If you are an employee who has work dumped on her because of the affair, you resent that. If you are a stockholder or partner in the company, you too have worries because certainly the quality of product and/or surface can suffer resulting from the distraction of an affair of employer and employee. This is not to say all workplace affairs never bloom into meaningful relationships.

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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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