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

Ask The Workplace Doctors has almost 3,000 questions and answers
for you to search. Or, ask your own question!

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.  Here are ways to make this site more effective for you—and for others:

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Climate of Fear

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about loss of those charged with a managing a department.

Our department is under the microscope for not stopping the students from protesting. Our Interim Assistant Director re-applied for the position that he had for three years. The Director resigned due to the overwhelming pressure from the Administrators. The hiring manager is the Vice President of Student Affairs. She gave us false assurance that he would get the job. She did a complete turn around and told our Assistant Director that he had until December 31 (1 week) to pack up and leave his keys behind. It’s now January 16 and he received a letter that they decided not to fill the position.

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Boss Called My Wife a Bad Name Behind her Back, But No Action Taken. What Now?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a rude and obscene comment
made by a manager, behind an employee’s back. 

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Question:
My wife took a problem to her manager, in front of other co-workers. They took care of the issue. After my wife walked out the door, her manager called her a “fucking bitch” in front of three other co-workers. She found out through other co-workers that it happened. It was brought to the attention of HR, but nothing has happened since then! There was to be a meeting, but it hasn’t happened yet, and it was reported three weeks ago.   What can we do about this?

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Don’t Want To Make A Mistake

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a query signed by a subordinate:

Good morning. My boss gave me a query for lateness to work, but asked the administrative officer, who is a very junior staff to me, to sign the query letter on his behalf. I need clarifications before I respond so that I don’t make mistake. I expected him to have asked my immediate boss to sign on his behalf rather than a very junior staff. Please, I need your urgent response. Thanks.

Signed—Don’t Want To Make A Mistake

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Coworker Once Friendly Now Distant

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a coworker’s distant behavior.

I’m working in a small company with around 8 employees including me. I have an issue with a co-worker who seems to be distancing herself from me for no apparent reason. We used to talk but we hardly converse nowadays.

When I addressed my concerns, she came up with a “talk less, listen more” excuse, which I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Ironically, she’s still in her cheerful personality when she talks to others, but gave me the cold shoulder when I tried to converse with her.

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What Can I Do About an Attraction Between the Assistant Manager and Me?

A Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about feelings of attraction by an employee for a manager: What can I do about my feelings? 

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Question:
I recently moved part-time jobs and I have been at my current job about 2 months. I think that my assistant manager may have a crush on me, and I may also have feelings for him. I am the only girl in the department so it’s hard to tell if he acts differently around me. I am 20 and he is 26 so I don’t know if the age difference is a problem.

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My Boss and Coworker Gossip

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about gossip within the HR Department
by boss and Coworker.

Question:
I am in HR and I’m faced with gossip in the office; however my issue is that my boss and a co-worker are the ones doing the gossiping. I know as HR I should not let this continue and I fear that the employee that they are gossiping about will quit and has mentioned that this is a form of harassment. I want to confront the boss and coworker, but I fear for my own job. What would be the best steps to take to handle this situation?

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How Can I Cope With A Problem Co-Worker Who is Now My Boss?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about how to cope with
a problem coworker who is now the boss.

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Question: 

I have been in my industry for 10 years. I came to my new company almost 3 years ago. I love it here. My boss is a hard charger and I have in the past loved working for her.  About a year ago my whole department noticed that one coworker was slowly gaining 100 percent of boss’s trust. This problem coworker is not an easy person to get along with, but she never pulls anything unless our boss is gone.

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Can She Be Disciplined?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss blocking the door:

Question:

I was recently in a situation where one of my superiors took me into another room to have a word with me as she thought I had ignored her. I was upset and wanted to remove myself from the situation as she got quite nasty and I was already upset. As I opened the door she blocked it with her foot and side of her body so I couldn’t get out.  I was, at this stage, panicking crying and just wanted to get out. I had to place both hands round the door handle and use my full body strength to get the door open past her. This has left me feeling incredibly upset. What can I do as now I feel incredibly upset and vulnerable having to work with her.  It’s awful and she has serious issues ..but I don’t think her managers will take this seriously.  Or will they?

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Should Firefighter Coworkers Having an Affair Be Charged with “Conduct Unbecoming”?

Your Question:
My wife and another coworker (Firefighter) not working directly together have been having an affair for the last 1-2 years. I recently confirmed it by getting their text messages and my wife finally admitting to it.

I work for the county government and it should fall into unbecoming of Firefighter. The County uses that when they want to go after an employee for actions done outside the workplace. I submitted the text messages (confirming sexual affair) and my wife is admitting it to them as well as evidence. They responded that this complaint is a private matter. If that is true then they have closed the door on anything anyone does on their time off.

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A Problem Workplace–But Two Coworkers Are The Worst

Question:

This has been going on for a while. And I admit that I have irritated my coworkers which I have been seeking therapy for. I had a baby this year so the hormones have not helped. This is going to be long. First, a little background: Recently we just had a manager get terminated because she was not only discriminating against certain employees but she also got caught in borderline illegal activity. This has resulted in her telling other things about me that were not true and her telling them about some personal medical information, as well as some complaints about some unethical workplace issues I had. Okay, now with that background I need some advice with an ongoing issue.

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