When Can I Assume I’m Unemployed?

Question: My boss is ignoring my emails, calls and text messages. I work a “flex” schedule, meaning I get a new schedule before my current assignment ends. I have been working 72 hours or more every week for about two and a half months, but the current assignment is set to end in less than a week and I have not received a new schedule yet, although I’ve asked for one.

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Interrupted In Russian

I work for an agency that provides services for many nationalities. Most of the staff speak Russian. I do not. The issue is that numerous times I could be engaged in a conversation with one supervisor and the other jumps in. Then they start speaking Russian. It makes me feel uncomfortable and I have no idea what they are saying. This can go on for a few minutes. What is my recourse? —What Can I Say?

Dear What Can I Say?

You are employed for a global agency. You must have been hired because you have certain skills and credentials they determined were needed. Are you new? Have you earned enough credibility to make this a matter of a staff discussion? Does anyone other than you see this as a problem?

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Screaming Match!

A question submitted to Ask the Workplace Doctors about Screaming

My coworker and I got into a screaming match at work. She called me a piece of shit and I should kiss her ass. I told her I do not kiss woman ass because I am not lesbian. My co-worker told my supervisor I called her lesbian and I was send home. My supervisor did not ask me what happened. He just sent me to HR, and I was sent to a different location to work without telling me why. What can I do?

Signed – Sent Elsewhere

Dear Sent Elsewhere:
What can you do? You can reflect on what led up to the screaming maaaatch (the misspelling is to help you recall what happened) and to list your options. Our site is committed to communication that enables workplace civility and collaboration. We assume that also is your motive for sending this brief drama that probably was heard by coworkers in your work area. 

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Avoiding Trash Talker

I have a coworker I distance myself from because she trash talks about others and dupes people that she is a victim then uses others to gang up on one specific individual. When I interact with them I’m always professional and kind even if they spew passive aggressive comments at me. Recently sadly that co worker’s father has died. I wanted to give my condolences but felt wary about letting them into my life again. I decided I’ll talk to them in person at work instead of calling. Unexpectedly a manager came up to me asking why I personally didn’t contact her or call her to see if she was okay.

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Dissatisfied Because Another Department Interrupts

Ask the Workplace Doctors about dissatisfied with work interrupted by an adjoining department that has employees who lack knowledge and are paid better:

I would like to ask what a wise approach would be in this situation. I am working in a department with certain interdependencies with another department. People in the other department are inexperienced and do not take responsibility for their mistakes or ownership of tasks. They constantly come to me and my boss to review their work and ask questions that they should know how to answer at their level or repeated questions that were previously explained. There are Glassdoor reviews attesting to the lack of knowledge persistent in that department.

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Does a Year’s Work Mean I’m Permanent?

Is it possible to act in a position without signing a contract for more than a year and not be given the position permanently?  —Want To Know

Dear Want To Know:

For advice to your question, I invited Danica Rice, a Human Resource manager. Danica replied:  it’s hard to answer because I do not know what type of what this is referring to. In order to provide an accurate response more information is needed.  Ohio is an at-will state which means employment with almost all employers is at-will. The employer can terminate for or without cause as well as the employee can leave the employee with or without any reason. If a contract is in place then the contract has to be upheld or either party could be held liable for breach of the contract. Again, without more information this is all I can say about this question. 

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NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about comparing duties and pay with a co-worker:

Work at a Inn/hotel. I work the night shift and do the Night Audit from 11pm-7am 4 nights a week, and there is a second person who works the other three nights a week. When he does his job, he does the night audit only! When I do my shifts, there are notes left for me to clean rooms, do laundry, etc. Not to mention he is paid more than I am. I do not feel that this is fair. They asked me to be housekeeping supervisor and I declined. It is as if they are getting two for the price of one! Please advise. –Signed, No Fair

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Feel Good AT SWAT

“One specific thing that I feel great about is being a hostage negotiator with our regional SWAT team.   The men and women I work with on the negotiators team are incredible and I am truly honored to work with them.  The work we do and serving with the SWAT team definitely makes me feel good.”

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Should I Call My Partner’s Office?

Question: Me and my partner are not married. I am 6 months pregnant. In the first quarter of my pregnancy I found out that he was cheating on me and abandoned me during my pregnancy. Can I call his office and complain about him regarding what he did?

Answer: You must surely be going through some very difficult emotional and physical times right now. I hope you have family to support you, and I sincerely urge you to talk to your physician about other resources that can help you through your pregnancy and into a happy life with your baby. You should also seek legal assistance related to child support. Do it now, rather than waiting until the baby is born, because you will have expenses and need extra help before birth, if the baby’s father has left you on your own. If you are unsure about how to proceed, talk to the Social Services program of your county or state and see if they offer assistance.

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Good Feeling After A Broken Window

A brief story I can recall and offer for Ask the Workplace Doctors comes from more of a neighborhood context rather than the workplace, but it comes from our work providing community mediation. It took place when a senior citizen who lived alone with her two dogs felt very vulnerable when a group of teens were hanging out around her property and she imagined the worst and thought they were a gang.
She felt especially threatened one day when her garage window was broken with a baseball. She called the police but eventually our non-profit agency and mediation program was made aware of the situation and we were able to bring together (this is years ago pre-covid) the senior citizen and the teen and his father for a mediation.

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