Coworker Sent Rude Text About Me

Question:

I work in a restaurant where all the coworkers have each other’s phone numbers so we can text and pick up or give away shifts. Last night when we were closing I paid someone to do my sidework (work that must be done before you leave). I checked the sidework to make sure it was done before I left, but I did not have anyone check it for me.

At the end of the night, the coworker responsible for making sure everyone’s side work was done texted the entire staff of servers at my restaurant letting them know that “when you work with her tell her thank hyou for not doing her work” He also said that he knows how hard it is to be a server and that he didn’t mind cleaning up after me. He also added my name twice, just to let everyone know who the lazy server was.

This text was sent to everyone we work with. I saw it today from a coworker who showed me. I then went to the closing manager. He said that the server that closed had come up to him and told him that I did not get signed out. They both went over to my section to see that it had been done and that everything was perfect. He still sent the text message to everyone after it was clear he knew my section was clean.

I am 5 months pregnant and I feel more so now that I have to push through my days, and I feel I have to work even harder to keep up with everyone else. I feel as though he is discriminating against me because of it and defaming my character to all of our coworkers. I am in a fragile state right now and this was very emotional for me. I spoke with one manager earlier in the day and she said “I will talk to him”, I want more then that, and I want to know what I can do about it.

Signed,

Angry and Upset


Answer:

Dear Angry and Upset:

What you describe would be upsetting, especially when you’re fatigued and frustrated. However, it doesn’t sound as though you have a strong basis for demanding that anything specific happens to the coworker. Nothing that you describe is illegal. He did not mention your pregnancy or do anything else that would be illegal or discriminatory.

It was not nice, it was unfair from your viewpoint and hurtful, but is the kind of behavior that happens in many workplaces, especially in restaurants. Sadly, we hear about such things often. The good thing is that usually the employees find a way to work around it and eventually a truce or a better relationship is established. Or, time goes by and one or both find other jobs.

If there is an employee manual that lists rules, and the coworker violated one of those rules, you could bring that to the attention of managers or HR. But, you do admit that you didn’t have someone check your area as you apparently were supposed to do. So, be careful that in your efforts to punish the coworker, you don’t end up with your manager saying he has to be fair and punish both of you.

You say a coworker showed you the text message. Apparently the coworker who showed it to you didn’t like it either. So, the one sending the rude text message probably made himself look bad to many people. He certainly sounds petty and juvenile and I’m sure many people took it that way.

Why not just let management deal with this? They will probably tell him not to do that again. If he does, they will have something specific to be upset with him about and that might lead to more serious action.

You can put your focus on doing your work, then going home and taking care of yourself emotionally and physically. Be the best friend possible to others at work. Be helpful and cooperative. Let coworkers know that you’re determined to smile, even though you may not have the energy you usually have. You’ll find yourself with many supporters compared to the other person.

This was an unfortunate situation. But, now that you know the coworker will report things to the manager, you can make sure there are no things to report. Soon you’ll have your baby and your whole world will change for the better anyway.

Consider sharing your feelings with the manager–not your feelings about the coworker, but rather, your feelings that you have do more to keep up and that you’re feeling very fragile and tired. Letting your manager know that may gain you support as well.

Best wishes to you, now and in the future. I hope you stay healthy for the next few months, then have great experiences with your new baby!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.