Age And Abusive Working Environment???

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about age discrimination: The lower supervisor is always making reference to my age in front of other employees. He makes a point about it calling me Grandpa.

I believe that I’m working in an abusive working environment. The lower supervisor is always making reference to my age in front of other employees. He makes a point about it calling me Grandpa. My age is 47. He says that if I have a problem, to report about the incident, but not to send it to him. He stated there was nothing he could do about it anyway because he is the supervisor. He is a lower level supervisor.

The main supervisor is just as bad. He is accused of favoritism, harassment and gross neglect of duty. He makes allowances for his drinking buddies and not the other employees. The other employees have to toe the line while his favorites can do what they want. For instance, one of his favorites shows up for a morning shift; however, the schedule shows he is to work a midnight shift. There are enough employees for the morning shift, but he let’s him work the morning shift anyway and that leaves the midnight shift short. But if one the other employee shows up early, they are told to go home and report for duty at their scheduled time. The proof is the employee’s time sheet vs. the printed schedule.

For instance last night, I was supposed to work the midnight shift. I called the lower end supervisor and informed him that I wouldn’t be able to work because I was sick. Our schedules state to Call Raymond or Shawn if you are going to be late. So I called Shawn about the problem about me being sick. He failed to tell the shift manager and leaves work, with willful knowledge that we are going to be short of staff. The main supervisor called me the next morning and told me to call him if I’m not coming to work. He makes it sound like it’s my fault that we were short staff. He said that Shawn isn’t my supervisor. Then why did Shawn do my evaluation for my probation period? Why does Shawn make the work schedules? Why is Shawn the only one that can carry a cell phone of the floor? And why do I have to call Shawn, if I going to be late? If Shawn is not my supervisor, then why does he have supervisor status? I feel that I’m going to be written up as a no-how at work. I did let the one I thought was supervisor know of the problem. What course of legal action do I have to take in order to protect myself. Do I write a grievance and take it to the personal office?

Signed, Not Your Grandpa

Dear Not Your Grandpa:

We regret that you are unhappy at your workplace. Work is hard enough without the kind of petty problems you describe. The hard fact of working-life, however, is that it is necessary to learn what are the written policies and unwritten practices. Our site does not answer legal questions, but I doubt that your problem is of a legal nature. You are frustrated about your work scheduling and feel some other co-workers are allowed more leeway.

I forwarded you question Jack White, one of our guest respondents who has had a world of working experience at every level, and his thoughts are as follows: “The questioner’s issue, after removing the hearsay stuff includes: Referred to as Grandpa. (Here I will insert my suggestion to not make an issue of this. Just ask this supervisor and co-workers to call you by name when they call you grandpa. Sure you are not an old man, but maybe this supervisor and others need to feel younger. You might say to him or them, “I’m not your grandpa. I have a name and I respectfully ask that you use it.” If it really annoys you, you can add that you will speak to HR to seek advice and policy about age discrimination. But as I implied above, it might be best to let the mention of your age roll off your back.)

Jack’s comments continue: “Possibly being written up for missing a shift. How long he has worked there? His reference to probation evaluation would suggest he is not a long-term employee. If so, how much does he really know about the operations and culture of the organization?. Clearly the issue for him is the communication problem regarding the shift. I think he should go to the personnel office and confirm the procedure for reporting sick. This would seem to be the best protection of him and his position. Initially in any organization the policies and personalities are hard to separate. His real question is how does he report illness and need to miss a shift.”

I concur. Get clear on official policy, and more importantly, rather than carry a grudge about favoritism, wouldn’t it be best to simply do what those in charge say they want? So what if you have to call more than one person about absences? The important thing for you is not what’s legal, but what will create a good working relationship. Is it possible for you to push what you see as favoritism to the back of your mind? After all, a supervisor needs a little flexibility and it may have been better to ignore the individual’s mistake than to send him home. The important thing is for you to do your job to the best of your ability, to be of good spirits, and rather than fight with your boss is to make him look good. I wouldn’t worry about defending your self about this one sick absence notification that your higher-level boss wanted you to call him unless you are written up. If you are, submit the kind of rebuttal explanation to be inserted in you file that you sent us and request that the write up be removed; both do this in writing and face-to-face with the one who wrote you up and Human Resources. Standing up for your self is important, but that might best be accomplished by thinking about what will make, even those who think of as bad, look good. At least this kind of what I call WEGO-mindedness will make you feel better about coming to work.

Jack White & Bill Gorden