Wrongly Accused of Using N Word

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about accused of using the N-word:

During a phone call while both phones were on speaker, the person on the other line thought she heard me say the “N” word. A complaint was filed 4 hours later. I denied the use of the word and thought that a word I said was misheard. Two employees in my office did not hear that word used. Nor did a black woman in the office I called hear me say the word. HR is handling the investigation. I have not been interviewed yet. How should I prepare? Thanks.

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My Boss Dislikes Christians. Hostile Workplace?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about religious discrimination.

My employer openly admits to disliking Christians even though this person knows my faith. I’m now uncomfortable to be at work. Is this considered a hostile work environment?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

We’re not attorneys, so we can’t provide you with the complete legal information you might need. However, Internet resources provide quite a bit of information about Equal Employment Opportunity issues. According to the government website, the general definition of a hostile work environment is one in which words, actions or other situations, create a “severe or pervasive” hostile or abusive work environment based on a protected status (and religion is one of those). It would also be illegal for your boss to prevent you from being promoted based solely on the fact that you are a Christian in your religious faith. However, the fact that your boss has said he doesn’t like Christians or any other religion, doesn’t necessarily make your workplace hostile. “Severe and pervasive” would describe unprovoked, very frequent negative remarks or other actions, focused specifically on your faith.

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Didn’t Mean A Remark To Be Racist

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about racist motivation: I said another waitress (who happens to be black) was “like a sheep; you have to lead her along to get her to do her work”.

I mentioned to another waitress where I work that another waitress (who happens to be black) was “like a sheep; you have to lead her along to get her to do her work”. This girl told the other, and the other is apparently pursuing the possibility that my comment was racially motivated. It was not, but just an analogy, as she is often not where she is supposed to be, and once found, you have to lead her to the work. When someone is “sly as a fox”, we don’t think of the person as an animal, but think of the characteristic. I was making an analogy about her work initiative only. What is your opinion? Thank you

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Boss Speaks to Spanish Speakers Only

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about Spanish only in meetings.

I work in a cannery in CA. Most of the workers there only speak Spanish. After work, my boss only held a meeting in Spanish. Can he do this? Three of us speak only English and had no idea what was going on. He is very rude to the English speaking employees. What can I do?

Signed, Left Out

Dear Left Out:

You have a voice and can politely ask what your boss has said. Quit thinking you are treated unfairly and that your boss is rude. He could simply think you understand Spanish even though you don’t speak Spanish to him. Does he know you can’t understand Spanish? During a meeting you could raise your hand and ask for him to tell you what he was saying in English. Did you do that?

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Only Guy Among Women in the Workplace

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about women discrimination of men.

I have noticed that women in the workplace seem to promote/encourage women alone. This is the bias here. Gossip is what seems to be a common bond between them. Meetings and projects to produce results, often end up as talk in the air. It’s very frustrating, especially when you’re the only guy in the team. What’s even more frustrating is the sweet-talkers absolutely fail to acknowledge a poor outcome for a project; they then then play the blame game. To add to my woes there seems to be ample research about bias against women in the workplace but absolutely none about women who stereotype against men. I actually have a sense that some of them are extreme feminists. Any advice on how to deal with such a situation especially when it could interfere with a promotion? Thanks

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False Accusation of Racism

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being accused of racism: And how do we go about fighting the defamation of my husband’s name? Do we have a legal standing.

My husband works for an international/multicultural company and has really enjoyed his job. Part of his job specification as an operations manager is to keep things running smoothly and deal with staff issues. Two weeks ago he was asked to address an issue with one of the sales staff, who has been keeping his clients as close as possible, and not allowing other staff in the company to deal with or communicate with them. Even though he is a paid employee of the company, he has been acting on his own. My husband was asked by his boss to send out a email introducing the rest of the staff, and detailing their ability to handle the incoming work these particular clients had coming in, offering their openness to be there if the sales rep was unable to help with customs advice or related issues. Unfortunately, the sales rep has a strong accent, and on many occasions it has been difficult for all staff to understand him.

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Supervisor’s Rights

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being watching one’s language.

Picture this: Manager to Supervisor: “Someone said that you made a derogatory remark to them today – you need to be careful what you say.” Supervisor to Manager: “Oh no, what did I say? I certainly have not meant to offend anyone.” Manager to supervisor: “You don’t need to know; just watch what you say. It can come back to bite you.”

Supervisor to Manager: “I will for certain be careful; however, I would like to know who I offended, so that I can apologize and make it right.” Manager to supervisor: “I can’t tell you. You just need to be careful.” Does the supervisor have a right to know what was said and who was offended?

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Falsely Accused of Racial Comments

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about accusation of racism: I have had 6 complaints of saying something labeled as a racial comment. What does someone do or can do about these false accusations?

I work for a healthcare contractor that provides Management Services for a Hospitals, schools, Universities etc. In my location, a hospital, I am in charge of more than 108 employees and 3 managers. From time to time, I am placed in a position that requires me to serve corrective actions to employees who have violated policies. Considering the demographics, the diversity of our employees, we do sometimes try to forgive some actions unless we can identify that an employee sets a trend or habit of violating policies.

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Not Calling Me By My Name

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about not being addressed by name.

What does it mean when a co-worker will not address me by my name? It’s always “Hey man” or “Hey buddy”. To me, it is very disrespectful not to address a person by his or her name. I always address this person by his name. He calls others by their names. We’ve had our differences, but not so bad that we can’t work together; I think.

Signed, I Have a Name

Dear I Have a Name:

Apparently “Hey, Man” for your coworker is a short-cut for him. He doesn’t have to remember your name. To address you this way is not really disrespectful unless you treat it as so. I have a long-time friend with whom I have conducted training for employees of hundreds of companies who almost always greets me with “Hi, Big Guy.” He does this in spite of the fact that he’s a hundred pounds heavier than I. It’s a habit.

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Can A Boss Tell Coworkers You Are A Drug Addict?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being hassled about drug addiction: My fiancé is also a recovering drug addict. Her boss is hearing rumors about her and is confronting her in front of coworkers and customers inside the restaurant causing my fiancé to cry and feel very embarrassed.

My fiancé works at a restaurant. Her boss is constantly demeaning her in front of coworkers and customers. My fiancé is also a recovering drug addict. Her boss is hearing rumors about her and is confronting her in front of coworkers and customers inside the restaurant causing my fiancé to cry and feel very embarrassed. She loves her job. But she hates going to work because of constant demeaning. Her boss also asked for the name and number of the doctor she is going to for help in front of the entire kitchen staff. My fiancé told her that there isn’t a need to talk about that in front of everyone;  it made her boss mad so she repeated it very loud when customers walked in.

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