I’ve Been Blackballed And Can’t Get A Job

I cannot find a job in nursing being an RN. There are many jobs but I cannot get hired in my own city and I can’t get an explanation why. How do I get off the blackball list? What should I do?

It sounds as though your situation involves much more than we can help you with in a casual response, so I suggest the following: 

1.  Talk to someone closer to you who knows you and your situation. You need to be able to talk about the background of your work problems and what has brought you to your current state of feeling black-balled. 

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I Thought I Was On Mute! Now What?

Question: I was on a Skype departmental call and didn’t realize it was unmuted. I was under pressure to get a lot done before the Christmas break. I swore at a message I was reading (I said shut the eff up) and the manager speaking on the call thought it was directed to him. He asked who said that? I felt so embarrassed and so in fear that I kept silent. I planned to tell him the next day but he was telling the story to others. He told a co-worker that he wished the director was on the call. Definitely the comment was not directed at him.

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Can I Report My Husband’s Online Activities to His HR?

Question: My husband is cheating on me. I found he has been having online sex with a foreign woman. They are planing to move together.

More over, He had sex with this woman online video during work hours in his office.

Can I report my husband affair to his HR?

Response: Thank you for sharing your frustrating and hurtful situation with us. It sounds as though you will be much better off to not have him in your life!

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Accused, Suspended, and Framed?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about an accusation and suspension:

My sister is being framed for something she hasn’t done at work. They’ve accused her of sharing personal data with an ex employee of the ex employees file. The ‘evidence’ they have is CCTV showing my sister behind the counter and the ex employee on the other side with a piece of paperwork between them unclear on CCTV. My sister believes that the paperwork was the ex employees CV/interview paperwork from a job interview she had that day and nothing to do with her personal file.

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She Found My Pay Stub and Now Is Unhappy

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about comparing her pay to mine:

My Co worker found my pay stub in my trash in MY office and made a copy and took it home to compare what she was making. Afterwards, she confronted our boss complaining about special treatment because on that one check it was more than what her average pay is. Is this legal in Indiana?

Signed-Stub read more

What Should I Do About An Unfair Disciplinary Investigation?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being sanctioned over how a conflict was handled. 

I was put off the clock for loud verbal altercation with an employee and I’m the only one put off the clock. (16.7 Emergency Off-Duty Status). I was ganged up on by five African Americans, taunting, bullying. Only thing I said was this wasn’t personal it’s business.

And I’m the one fighting for my job?

We are not employment attorneys and don’t have expertise in employment law or union issues. Thus, this response is merely the opinion of an ordinary person doing some research and trying to provide basic assistance. I’m sorry that you’re having this happen, especially at this time of year. I hope you can get it resolved quickly.

Based on the reference to 16.7, Emergency Procedure (16.7 Emergency Placement Off-Duty Status) I expect you are a USPS employee. I don’t know any of the details of the situation (how long the conflict had been building, what it was about, what happened right at the time, etc.). However, it seems to fall into the category of an employment action for which you should seek your union’s support through the grievance process. I would expect if you received a 16.7 action, it stated at the bottom that you have 14 days to grieve it.

Apparently whatever the allegations are, they will be investigated. Unfortunately, you will be without pay until a disposition of the case has been determined. If the case is easily investigated and quickly decided about, that might be a short amount of time.

Many governmental agencies and large companies, take the approach that if someone is being investigated for something for which they could be negatively sanctioned, they shouldn’t be allowed to continue in the office until the matter is investigated and resolved one way or another. However, it seems to me that placing someone on leave without pay is already a negative sanction. I can understand why that 16.7 procedure has created a lot of grievances. I can also understand the position of management, because often angry employees use poor judgment about their actions. But, as in your case, it can be the source of a lot of feelings of unfairness—which creates even more conflict between employees.

Some questions to answer for whoever you discuss this with, will be:
1. Were any charges brought against the others, whether or not they were placed on emergency off-duty status, or where you the only one charged with a violation? As part of the grievance you might ask that the matter be investigated further, to ensure that anyone who violated a rule be treated equally.
2. Were you intoxicated to any degree at all?
3. Did you yell at or become very angry with the supervisor/manager? Is it possible he or she felt that if you stayed on the job you would increase the anger or cause problems with the work or with others?
4. Did anyone state they were fearful of your actions? If one of your coworkers said they felt afraid of what you might do next, management may have felt they had no choice but to use the 16.7 procedure. However, that still may not have justified it.
5. Have you been warned before about similar situations? If you have had similar verbal confrontations and been warned about them, your manager may have felt this time deserved something more severe. However, the 16.7 procedure sounds to me, as a lay-person reading it, to only refer to the specific situation, not to a combination of situations.
6. What exactly was the dialogue involved in the altercation? Write it down word for word, giving the name of the person making each comment you transcribe, so the reader can get a good mental picture, like a movie script. Describe tone of voice, physical actions, etc. If the area is under video surveillance, ask for a copy of the video for the union representative to view. I would expect that it would be important to the grievance to establish a reason for the emergency off-duty placement. If nothing visible or verbal would indicate you were more of a threat than the others, that could be helpful.
7. You state: “Only thing I said was this wasn’t personal it’s business.” I imagine much more was said than that! That short phrase wouldn’t make sense as a stand-alone comment and certainly would not have been considered worthy of correction—unless you screamed it in a manager’s face. So, write out what you said and what they said and what your supervisor said, etc. Don’t try to soften your own comments, state them correctly, just as you should not try to make the other comments sound worse. Just write it word for word, as well as you remember what was said.
8. Ask for union assistance and stay on top of the situation, to make sure it is processed quickly. I don’t know if it’s possible to rescind an emergency off-duty placement before the end of an investigation, but perhaps now that things have calmed down, that is possible. Your union rep could tell you about that.
9. When you talk to anyone about this, even coworkers who are friends, talk calmly and reasonably and stay focused on how much you want to get back to work and put this all behind you. You may find you will have to accept more responsibility for the situation than you think is fair. But, it may be necessary if you want to be seen as someone who is mentally and emotionally able to handle negative situations.
10. When you return to your job you may need to develop a new way of dealing with conflict, if there have been problems in the past. One thing you can do is step away and take yourself out of it. You don’t have to stand still and be yelled at. You don’t have to respond to mean comments. Next time, you be the one who asks for management’s assistance. Don’t give anyone something to use against you. That’s just reasonable behavior, when you already know you have to watch your back.
I wish there was an easy answer to this, because I can well imagine how upsetting it is. However, hopefully, the truth will be found out and justice will at least prevail well enough to keep unfair things from happening. In the meantime, you will need to draw on a lot of inner strength and the support of those who care for you, to stay calm and positive. I hope you will do that and find reasons for happiness as you go into the New Year.

Best wishes to you. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Rowe
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Should a Coworker’s Drug Use Outside of Work Be Reported?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about reporting drug use:

A friend of mine works at a bank and he has become friends with a co-worker. That male co-worker of my friend has been open about doing drugs outside of the workplace. He has noticed a change in his productivity and mood since his friend of 6 months now, has been using drugs. He wants to know if he should talk to his friend who is using or go right to the boss.

Signed–Drugs and Work

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Unfair Write-Up: First in Eleven Years

Question submitted to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a write-up:

I have been working at a major corp. in the same position for over 11 years. I recently went on vacation. I work in accounts payable and process invoices. While away, my supervisor and manager were at my desk. They were first there to look for invoices, which at first was normal. While they were there, they noticed some documents in my trash/recycle bin: an old purchase order which I knew was either closed/cancelled zero balance invoices for prepaid inventory (no need to keep it) A few other documents which I later explained to them I did not need. read more

What Can Happen About an Accusation That I Started a Rumor?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being accused
of starting a rumor at work. 

Hi, I’m going to try and do this without names as I feel like I’ve been singled out for a witch hunt. I have been accused of starting a rumor about my supervisor (A) while she was on maternity leave. The rumor I am being accused of starting is that I said our manager (B) was unhappy with the work my supervisor(A) was doing and that she would be not welcomed back into our department. That the supervisor(A) would be re-positioned elsewhere or fired and replaced, and that a specific employee(C) would be taking on my supervisor’s(A) position. read more

Can I be Fired for Testing Positive?

 Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about testing positive:

Just a few days ago I was accused of being under the influence of drugs on the job; I do do drugs on my own time but never on company’s time. I had to take a drug test and the test came back positive. Can my employer fire me due to the positive results even when it was done on my own time? —On My Own Time read more