Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about nepotism:

I work for a small business, which is owned by a larger company. My daughter is my supervisor which was approved by the parent company when I was hired. My daughter got a new supervisor; he has stated on several occasions that he is not ‘comfortable’ with her being my supervisor. He has stated that to me and to her. Tonight he had a meeting with us and stated again that he doesn’t like it that she is my supervisor. I asked him if he was going to fire me because I am her mother. His response was … I thought about it! Would this be considered discrimination?

Signed, Mom of My Supervisor

Dear Mom of My Supervisor:

No, I don’t think firing you can be construed as discrimination. Our site focuses on communication issues, not legal matters, and we don’t give legal advice. However, if you look up workplace discrimination, you will learn it pertains to a number of other protected classes: sex, national origin, race, religion, age, disability, etc. You daughter’s supervisor’s uneasiness with a daughter-mom supervisor arrangement suggests that an effort probably is being considered for a re-adjustment of that. And you can fight that or cooperate. I think you can understand why this arrangement, even if one time approved, should and can be changed. If you choose to fight it, you probably will make your case as to how long this has been in place and by providing what evidence you have that the parent company approved of it. If you cooperate, you will adapt to what is proposed.

From this distance and not knowing the context of your small business, it seems to me, you would cooperate. Surely if you are doing good work, there can be a way to resolve this discomfort without firing you. Is there no place for you to be transferred or couldn’t your daughter’s supervisor evaluate your work while you and your daughter now work as coworkers? Could you three and others in your work group not function as a team in which this supervisor serves as a coach/boss? I will be interested in how you work through this. The issue shouldn’t be so much on who supervises as what your work group can do to function best. So wouldn’t be wise to change?Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and that what you want; for all to function in ways that make each other productive and excited about what you do. In short, put this matter behind you. Focus on cutting wasted supplies, time, energy and money. Focus on ways to make your work environment pleasant. Focus on ways to make internal and external customers more pleased. If these thought make sense, please update us on how this all is resolved.

William Gorden