Manager and Direct Report Using Me To Flirt

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being an unwilling go-between: Both are married, but they discuss how unhappy they are with their spouses. During the work day, they always want to go to lunch as long as I am with them.

What should a person do when the manager(male) favors a new hire(female)? Both are married, but they discuss how unhappy they are with their spouses. During the work day, they always want to go to lunch as long as I am with them. Work is piled on my desk and it is left up to me to figure out how to do it. She has one thing to do and the only curiosity she shows is in the manager.

I have been there for five years and my manager and I have never been to lunch together. He is now interested in meeting after work for drinks, as long as I go. She is my equal in position. I have worked extremely hard for five years and have received ratings of “exceeds” in performance reviews. Other people in the department have also taken notice of his preferential treatment and grooming of her.

Signed, Not Cupid

Dear Not Cupid:

It doesn’t sound as though your manager and the new employee have behaved in a way that is provably inappropriate, Fortunately, the things that are most frustrating to you seem to be things you could attempt to do something about. You may have already tried, but it would be worthwhile to try again and keep trying. Consider the two things that seem to be most concerning to you–having work left for you to do and being asked to chaperone the two of them.

Apparently you are a valuable employee and have been for some time. You are trusted to such an extent that your manager wants you along when he and the new employee are together. Use that status and speak up for yourself.Talk to your manager about the problem of work being left for you to do. Push back on that in a civil way and don’t just automatically do the work of the other employee. You have may have an equal position but tenure usually counts for something as well, at least in the way you are viewed by coworkers.As for lunch and drinks after work, don’t go.

Since you have never gone to lunch with your manager in the past, it won’t be unusual if you say you prefer to eat alone or that you think it’s better that he not appear to be giving preferential treatment to one or two employees, so you’ll pass. You don’t mention if your manager has a higher level manager, but if so you could even invoke that name and say that Mr. So-and-So would probably frown on a situation where it looks like one or two employees are getting special treatment.

You would probably be doing your manager a favor–and the employee too–by reminding him of how the situation might appear.If neither of those work you will need to decide how bad the situation really is and if you can tolerate it until it changes, as you know it probably will. If something about it is harming you directly you may want to go over your manager’s head to talk to someone. Otherwise, there is probably nothing you can do except stay focused on your own work, question any work that should be someone else responsibility and make yourself unavailable as a safe lunch or drinks companion for the two others. Best wishes to you about this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

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.