Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about nepotism: When having to deal with HR, it become apparent on whose side they are even though a different HR person deals with you.

The boss is married to a senior talent manager. When having to deal with HR, it become apparent on whose side they are even though a different HR person deals with you. What resource do I have left?

Signed, Victim

Dear Victim:

Often those not at the top of an organization think that those above can prejudice their treatment, as do you. What resource do you have left? If discriminated against should you be in a protected class (sex, race, religion, national origin, age, disability), you can petition the EEO or hire an attorney. Possibly a married relationship has and will prevent fair treatment of you.   If you think are not promoted, are demoted, or unfairly disciplined, you can request an independent investigation of the matter or hire an attorney.

Apparently you are prompted to send your query because something has happened that is not going well for you. You have an option to allow this to fester and sour or to learn what in your job performance annoys your boss and/or those above. Trouble and conflict can be destructive to individuals, but they also signal the need to reflect on their causes and to problem solve. Often trouble escalates because candid and frequent communication suffers. Those above are then viewed as disinterested, aloof, and/or enemies.

Might that be the case for you? And might it not be past time to renew you commitment to working as a responsible and committed employee–as one who appreciates the big picture? By that I mean is it time for you to honestly review your own performance and possible causes for you to think that you are not well treated? Specifically log incidents that have generated the reasons for you note to us. Then walk in the shoes of those whom you blame. You might have just cause for why you feel mistreated. If so, don’t allow a supposed fear that those above are so linked by family ties that they can’t listen to you arguing in your own defense. Don’t assume that Human Relations can’t do a fair investigation. Don’t assume.

Meanwhile, you must determine if you are seriously injured or simply annoyed as are many who must follow the rules made by those in authority. Pretend for a couple of weeks to perform as you would if you owned the workplace: strive to cut wasted supplies, wasted time, wasted energy, and wasted money. Talk up those in charge. Do what is reasonable to make their jobs easier. Become a cheerleader for your workplace.

Obviously, from a distance I can’t see things as do you. Therefore, you can take my advice with a grain of salt or use it to motivate you to voice your mind; hopefully in a civil and persuasive way. My best to you. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. By that I suggest whatever you do, it will be better for you and all concerned if you want to “save face” rather than to make anyone look bad. To do that you had best take a positive rather than an it’s them, not me attitude.

William Gorden