“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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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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A VP Has Been Given My Project And I’ve Been Shut Out. What Now?

Question: A project I have been the sole worker on for two years now is getting a revamp and a new partner. Previously, the project was a major part of my job responsibilities and I called all the shots. With the revamp, I now must answer to a VP at the company, located in another state, who is now calling all the shots.

She shot down many of my ideas, which I understand is part of working on a team. But ultimately, she gives the green light on everything about the revamped project without much input from me.
What was once a very productive and inspiring part of my job is now controlled by someone else with more seniority, leaving me without any say-so. Since she is a VP, and I’m a coordinator (~2 years out of college), I feel that calling her up and “asking” to have more responsibility is pointless. Any advice?

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Boost in Confidence

A good feeling moment submitted by a young employee as a result of a phone conversation:

I took a phone call from a potential customer. Typical calls last 1-3 minutes. This particular conversation lasted an entire 22 minutes. I explained numerous aspects of our business and the process of a typical granite installation project. The reason I am proud of this particular call is, numerous times throughout the conversation the customer stopped and would say, “Wow, I really like the way you talk.” Also, “How old are you? Only 26!? You sound very professional young man.”   (more…)

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Infestation in Federal Building. Management Apathetic

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about an unhealthy workplace:

I work in a warehouse that sells groceries and it has been infested with rats for months. There are visible droppings all over and the smell is horrible. Management was warned before it ever became this bad, back when precautions could still be taken. They have ignored all warnings and aren’t making any significant efforts to fix the problem, or clean up problem areas. Mice have even been seen on sales floor. There are a few traps out, but not helping.
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Assigned Next to the Women’s Restroom

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about relocating her work space:

Employee A is constantly sighing and going into the bathroom at least 8 times in 3 hours daily. Employee B’s office is right next to the bathroom and the walls are very thin. When Employee A walks past Employee B’s office, she constantly sighs and makes sad noises. Then she enters the bathroom and continues with the sighing.

Employee B is upset because she hears the constant sighing and constant bathroom breaks by Employee A. Employee B has asked to be moved to another area away from the bathroom because she is so distracted by the constant sighing and bathroom breaks, and says she is getting stomach aches and anxiety from the situation. (more…)

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