What Should I Do About This Threat?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about an employee who
yelled a threatening remark.

I’m a manager and a staff member got upset about some work I gave him and yelled at me, inches from my face, saying, “Don’t make me lose my shit or one of these days there’ll be nothing left here except charcoal!” What should I do about it?


It sounds as though you have an employee who 1.) Is rude and disrespectful to his manager. 2.) Doesn’t control his temper. 3.) Makes threats that implies if he gets angry enough he will set the building on fire—and presumably anyone in it.

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Constant Criticism and Anger at Work

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about an employee who criticizes how things are done:
I have an employee at work who is constantly criticizing how things are done. She is a perfectionist in her tasks and indeed does a very good job in her duties, often staying until late and performing way beyond the standards that she is asked for.

However, whilst doing so, she is constantly complaining, especially to a small group of people, about how others do their work. Even though of course everything can always be improved and done at a higher level, as a manager I don’t see any clear reasons for complaint. All the opposite, I feel that everyone is working well and that the job is certainly getting done; many times even way over my expectations.

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How Can I Get Upper Management Support?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about getting upper management support: How can I get upper management to support me in not allowing others to get away with undermining my authority?

I currently work at a career school handling student loan default prevention. I handle default prevention at a campus level, but a new position was created shortly after I came on board that was offered to me to oversee our other 3 campuses as well. Part of the problem is the fact that I work out of one of the campuses and not out of the corporate office, and there is a level of competitiveness among campuses that makes it difficult to gain the other campus’ trust that I am in fact looking out for their best interest and not trying to make the campus I work at look the best.

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Rude Communications At Work

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about rude communications at work:

“Any suggestions for how to stop nastiness and rude communications in the workplace?”

I am a Process Leader in the claims dept. of a health insurance company. Over the past 6 months or so we have been overwhelmed with an abundance of claims. With a new product that we went live with in January, it caused our paper claims volume to go up and our processing time to go down.

During these past few months, the atmosphere as been null to say the least. Employees are nasty and speak rude to one another. I won’t deny that they are stressed and overworked as overtime has been mandatory for some months now.

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Badmouthing Teammate

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a teammate who badmouths another team member.

I have a teammate, who is usually watching what I do while performing my job, then he speaks badly about me to the rest of the team and to the Boss without providing the advice to correct mistakes. We are supposed to work as a team. The rest of team is always trying to help each other to accomplish and do the work perfectly. Is there anything I can do with him?

Signed, Badmouthed

Dear  Badmouthed:

You don’t really have a teammate. Rather you have a coworker in your work group, one who criticizes. This might not be his fault because probably he has been programmed to point up mistakes and gossip–programmed by the way he grew up as a kid and as he has progressed in his career. Is there anything you can do to change his behavior? Maybe not, at least you should realize that habits are habits and not changed easily.

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Can a Manager Curse and Say Bad Things About You?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss who insults one’s family: She also told me that if I tried to go to the store manager that there was nothing he could do. Is there really nothing I can do?

I had one of my managers go off on me, telling me rude things about my family and myself. What really pissed me off was that she said rude things about my mother. She also told me that if I tried to go to the store manager that there was nothing he could do. Is there really nothing I can do?

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In Trouble for Fulfilling Supervisory Role

A question  to Ask the Workplace Doctors about getting in trouble for taking a supervisory role: 


I was told when I was hired by my supervisor that I was to supervise a secretary. It is in my official job description. While supervising a secretary who was not performing her job duties adequately, I contacted indirectly our dept. head and the personnel dept. I wanted to extend the probationary period for the employee. The department head called me into a meeting in front of the secretary and many others and informed me that I was not the supervisor for the secretary and that I was guilty of harassment. I was called a liar and told I violated the chain of command by contacting Personnel, although I had contacted them several times in the past over other employee issues. What next?

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Employee Yelling At A Supervisor

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about an employee yelling at a supervisor: 


I am a supervisor. An employee lashed out and yelled at me in a disrespectful way. She says she is upset because she wants a phone call when I am coming for my zone visit. She is nervous alone in the building, but this is not our practice. How should I deal with this angry person?




Dear Concerned:

The issue of the zone visit and the employee being alone in the building is not clear, nor is exactly what you mean by “lashing out”. But, the general situation seems to be this: You are a supervisor who was spoken to in a rude, very angry, voice-raised, disrespectful way by an employee. Assuming that you did not talk to her in a similar way, you have a situation that is very concerning. For one thing, if she is very angry (as you describe it) it could escalate to a much more volatile situation. If she is merely upset, but not out of control or near it, jt is still a serious problem to have an employee yelling at a supervisor.

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Can False Allegations Be Investigated Twice?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a false allegation: Can my agency re-investigate me for the same allegation, even if there is no additional evidence?

I was the subject of false allegations by a subordinate as retaliation for a disciplinary action. I was cleared of the allegation. However, my law enforcement agency allows accusers to remain anonymous. The accuser has been recently dismissed by the agency and I am concerned that he is going to make the same allegations. Can my agency re-investigate me for the same allegation, even if there is no additional evidence?

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Does not Accept Me As Boss

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a male subordinate who does respect her as boss:

I have a subordinate who I feel does not treat me like his boss. I believe there are multiple factors 1. I am female,  2. Have equal educational qualification.  He sometimes talks to me as though I am his friend. For instance on his first day of his job, he was asked me what’s my background. I guess he was trying to assess how come I am in a superior position. Another instance was when, in front of many people, he motioned with his his fingers signaling me to come to him. Seriously i did not liked that and thought to discuss his behavior with my boss but later declined this thought.

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