Just Four Cents to Feel Good

I started out my shift by cashiering just like any other normal day at Heinen’s. This was my third job that I have had. I was a cashier and bagger. Moreover, the job was simple to understand. I was quickly approached by two men who were going to the airport to fly back to Oregon when they checked out. I knew this by starting a friendly conversation with them as I do so with every other customer. Their total came to $10.04. One of the men asked, “Do you have an extra four cents someone put beside that I could use?” He asked this so he didn’t have to carry ninety-six cents through the airport, which would be a hassle for anyone. Quickly, I dug out four cents of my own wallet because I always carry change on me. I put the four cents in the drawer and handed his receipt. He was extremely grateful that he didn’t know what to say at first. He then asked, “What’s your name?” I replied.  Afterwards he said, “When I get home I am going to send in a review of what you did here Evan.” Overall, all it took was four cents to make this guy very happy and grateful. This act of kindness made me feel really good about myself. This made me want to make someone else’s day. I hope this encourages many more to do acts of kindness to spread happiness because it truly can turn someone’s entire day around.

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Lab Mess–Everybody Does All of This Once in a While


A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about complaints about creating a mess within one’s work area:

“The entire lab has come to me to complain about you.” This was what my supervisor told me. I completely accept that I am absent-minded and may forget to keep things in their proper place. Truthfully (10 times in 10 months). But so does all my colleagues. It’s a laboratory! Sometimes people are in a hurry to finish their experiments, and it’s already really late and things are forgotten to be replaced. I have even seen the lab technicians (who apparently have gotten together to speak about me) have done things absent-mindedly. 

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Should I Quit My Job, Since My Manager Doesn’t Support Me Against an Insulting Employee?

Question: I’m a 29 y/o female who works in a male dominated field as a highly-trained industrial worker. I used to work the day shift, but a year ago I switched to working nights due to how I was being treated by the lead hand at the time.

A couple days ago this same lead hand reeked of alcohol (not the first time I’ve smelled it on him), and when I had to ask a work related question in front of both my supervisor and him, he immediately told me, “Shut the fuck up.” My supervisor began laughing, and so did the lead hand.

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Step Down and Train My Replacement! No.

I have been working for a company for 6 months and have been receiving a lot of hostility from an employee that was overlooked for my position. The previous manager before me did not recommend him for the position due to his lack of experience. Since this, that said employee has been hostile towards me and creating a toxic work environment. He also makes the office uncomfortable due to his hostility and anger towards other office personnel within the department.

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Should I Report What My Colleague Told Me?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about whether or not to report that a coworker
was asked to make a false accusation of sexual harassment.

Question: A work colleague told me that my boss asked her to fake a sexual harassment complaint against another manager. He told her he would give her $4,000 now and $4,000 later, for a total of $8,000.

I asked her what she said and she told me “Oh my gosh, I was so shocked, I didn’t know what to do!” I told her to report it to someone higher, but she said no.

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Apology?

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about dealing with a coworker that acts like she knows everything and can do everyone’s job better than them.

I sent an email to my co-workers asking for guidance on an email that I had to send out. Moreso for them to proof and to edit it if need be. The co-worker in question sent back a harsh email telling me that my email was incorrect. Instead of giving me advice on what it should say she just told me that it was incorrect and if I sent it out the employees would never trust our department again.

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My Boss Thinks I Snitched On Him.

My boss used to be great with me, but recently he has seemed to feel differently about me, as though he doesn’t trust me. He will talk to other employees about work, but not include me in any of it. I asked one of my colleagues about this change in attitude and she told me that he thinks I am snitching on him. She told me not to tell anyone that she gave me that information.

I tried to talk to him, to find out more about it, but he wouldn’t even talk to me or listen to me. .

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Didn’t Abide by Severance Agreement

I was “Laid Off” 3-4 months back and given severance. Included in the agreement were conditions that I wouldn’t sue and the organization would provide “Neutral ” references. Upon hiring a reference checking Agency, I found one manager giving a positive reference and another one giving an extremely negative one. How should I proceed and how much will this cost?

Signed–Severance Neutral

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What Should I Do About A False Allegation?

A question to Ask The Workplace Doctors
about being falsely accused at work. 

Question:
What do you do when a disgruntled employee makes a very serious false claim/lie about you to IR which in turn communicates to HR and EEC officer?

Response: I may not have all of the initials in your question translated correctly, but I think my suggestions will be helpful anyway.

Apparently you are a supervisor or manager and an employee complained to a your state’s Industrial Relations Board, about something you said or did, that he or she considered to be mistreatment, unfairness or unethical or biased behavior.

The IR Board reported the matter to your organization’s Human Resource section. I think an EEC officer would refer to ethics but might be equal employment. The bottom line is that an employee has made a serious allegation about you and you are worried about the outcome and want to know what to do about it.

1. One thing that will help you throughout this process is to keep your composure about the situation and do not talk about it to anyone other than the people responsible for investigating it or someone you have asked for assistance about it.

Don’t talk to other employees or even to fellow supervisors, except to say that you are sorry for the conflict and you are cooperating fully with the investigation. If you express anger or make negative comments about the employee or the process, those can be repeated and you will have an even more difficult time. Or, you will try to explain what actually took place and that can be repeated with a twist. If you have already talked about, just back-off now and don’t let others get you going again.

It may be that there will be no formal investigation, because HR has other facts to go on. But, my experience has been that if someone makes an untrue allegation, it is valuable to have it investigated thoroughly, to get the truth out in the open. It is one way to hold people accountable for their false accusations.

2. Having said that, I should also note that if you did, in fact, say or do something, even inadvertently, that would be a violation of policy or procedure or that appears to be problematic, you might as well acknowledge it, give your viewpoint about it, apologize, say that it won’t happen again and count on your good work history to assist you. It would have to be a very, very severe violation to merit dismissal, so probably even if you were in error, you would not receive a major sanction.

3. Whether there is no truth to any of the allegations or a bit of truth, but not as bad as alleged, just follow the instructions you receive from any organizational unit who is investigating the matter. If you are asked for a statement or interviewed, respond readily and courteously. Your attitude and behavior during the investigation will be noted and probably at least casually reported.

4. If the complaint is about something you allegedly said, write the actual dialogue as nearly as you can remember it, word for word. Next to the sentences spoken by each of you, write a note to describe the tone of voice or facial expression, if that would make a difference in how the sentence is interpreted. In that way, you will have the exact words in writing, without having to try to repeat them exactly the same way when you may be more nervous about it.

List every witness to the event and where they were standing, as a way to differentiate between those who only saw the aftermath, but didn’t hear your words or the words of the other person.

5. If the complaint is about something you did administratively or related to job directions, promotions, assignments, days off or other employment situations, document everything you did. Make copies of files or reports, take a photo of an area, as a way to show it more clearly to anyone who talks to you about it.

If the complaint involved some aspect of using machinery or being trained about it, use your phone to video the machine in operation. For example, a supervisor videoed a loading dock as a way to show a complaint board the kind of noise he was dealing with and why he yelled loudly at an employee. It was very effective and he was cleared of wrongdoing.

6. You can see by #3, #4 and #5, that I’m suggesting that you assist the person who is going to investigate this matter, if there is going to be an investigation. If you are a supervisor, demonstrate to them that you are not angry at them or the system, because you understand their role and yours.

7. Talk to your manager, if that is comfortable for you to do, given the work environment or culture of the organization, and ask for his suggestions. He may have experience with the same thing and can talk to you about what to expect next.

8. Focus on your own good work. If there is some aspect of the situation that you would do differently, if you had it to do over again, put those better habits into practice now. Quite often, in some work environments more than others, the culture becomes one of “We get the work done and sometimes we have to talk tough to do it.” Or, “I have a job to do and I can’t always make everyone happy.” Those may be true statements, but they are often used to excuse rudeness or unnecessarily riding roughshod over employee. Or, they are used to excuse a lack of compassion or a lack of fairness.

If you are already doing an excellent job of supervision, just keep at it. The employee who complained about you may still feel anger toward you or he may wish he hadn’t made the complaint. Either way, you are still responsible for his well-being. Treat him with respect and civility and show him and others that you can move forward and past this.

Best wishes to you as this unfolds. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what develops.

Tina Rowe
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