My Boss Swears At Me

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about swearing boss and change in hours:

Is it right that my operation’s manager swears at me for making a mistake with my work number and is it also right that my hours have changed by being given a letter saying so? I have worked there for 2 1/2 years and my work hours have been the same, from 6 am to 2:30 pm. Now with the letter I have to start work at 8 am till 4:30 pm stating I may have to work due to the material going off etc. Is this right? What rights do I have about the swearing at me, as I feel insulted & bullied? Thank you.

Signed, What’s Right?

Dear What’s Right?:

Unless you have a union contract describing when and what you do, management can adjust your working hours as needed. Regarding swearing, some bosses find that strong language enhances their orders. Must you put up with being the target of a boss that swears because you made a mistake? Probably this is something accepted in the culture of your workplace. You will have to decide if you want to say when your boss swears at you, “Jim, I have put up with being a target of your anger in the past, but I’m asking you to stop swearing at me. I work much better when you coolly point out a mistake I have made and say what I need to do to correct it. Do you understand?” If your boss balks, “I’ll swear at you if I want.” You might need to repeat yourself, “Jim, I am asking you again to not swear at me. If you don’t understand that I mean it, what do you suggest I do? All I’m asking is to be treated with a little respect. I don’t work better because you swear. Do you understand?”

Use your own words should you chose to confront him. If not, bite your tongue and take it.From what you say, I think, you are angry with your boss. I expect that it is past time for you to have a time-out talk with him in which you stress that you want to do a good job for him and your company and would like to do all you can to make your place profitable. If that means changing your schedule you will, although you much prefer the earlier one of the past two years. Rights of employees, except those mandated by state and federal law pertaining to safety, working off the clock, and discrimination, are few if any, unless negotiated by labor-management. I’m sorry I can’t tell you that you can tell your boss “where to go” because his swearing/bullying infringes on your rights to be treated with respect. But I can’t. So do what you can to assert your self. Working together with hands, head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and that’s really what you and you boss both want; to gain the good feeling that comes from working together rather than against each other.

William Gorden