Demoted for Reporting on Supervisor

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss flirting:

My boss called me into his office a week after reporting my supervisor and a new girl flirting, I had just got in trouble for not reporting an issue. I was told I was demoted and he was sticking me on another shift…I am stunned to say the least. I have an appt with Hr in three days and have asked to be transferred out of that dept as it is obvious retaliation.

Signed, Want To Be Transferred

Dear Want To Be Transferred:

I have not revised your email. I have read it twice and can’t understand exactly what happened. I assume your boss is not your supervisor and that he said you should have reported your supervisor and a newly hired woman were flirting. Right? And since you didn’t report that, he was changing you to a different shift. Right? Now you are angry about that and have made an appointment with Human Resources to request that you can be transferred to a different department. Right?

My point is this: learn from every experience. Apparently you didn’t know or didn’t follow what was expected by your boss. That might have been his fault. Or you knew what was expected regarding reporting flirting but chose not to report it. From this distance, I can’t know if it was his or your failure to make clear what was expected. The lesson you should learn is that misunderstandings can happen and to avoid them you can do all that is reasonably possible to get what is expected clear in your head.How? By asking what and why questions, by repeating, and rephrasing to clarify what is expected.

A second lesson you might learn from what you call is a “demotion” is to not become sour, if you want to do well in your workplace. You will not be seen as a team player if you interpret being assigned as “retaliation” and go to HR angrily blaming your boss and probably gossiping to coworkers about it. Rather, before complaining that your boss is demoting you as retaliation, it would be wise to have a time-out session with him to talk through and seek to understand if this move is retaliation and if it is fair, or if there is another reason to assign you to another shift.More talk is better than making assumptions. Less talk apparently was what you didn’t do enough of so now more talk might help. In any case, learn that better communication (Possibly you thought reporting flirting was gossip) is important to doing one’s job.

Third, working through misunderstandings is necessary in almost every job. So don’t obsess about this one or the next. Rather focus on learning your job well and eagerly seek to learn more if you want a career rather than just have a job. In this case, if you want your boss to see you are an employee who can adjust and learn, be that kind of person. It’s important to speak up for yourself, but don’t be one who becomes an enemy.

I hope these few suggestions will guide you as you meet with HR. Go in with a positive professional attitude. One that is embedded with that of my signature sentence: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. In short, what you want is that neither your boss nor you look bad and that you be seen as a valuable employee.

William Gorden