Poor Management

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about name calling: I was then called a “lazy fuck” and walked out on.

I started working for a sports bar about six months ago that is privately owned and does not have a corporate office or anything of the sort. During my first month of work I was called a “Bitch” by my kitchen manager (I am an expo in the kitchen) to which I questioned the words that had just come out of his mouth. He had apologized and claimed he didn’t mean to say that, he was only joking. I let go of the situation and carried on. About a month later he had made another “bitch” comment to which I told him he could not speak to me like that and he once again said he was joking and carried on. On a different occasion I was asked to clean something in the kitchen but due to the high amount of orders I did not have a chance to get around to it.

The next day he had come in and asked whether or not the item had been cleaned, apologetically I responded no. I was then called a “lazy fuck” and walked out on. I ignored the problem once more. Several months had gone by since these situations. Then one Saturday night he was at work off duty and came into the kitchen under the influence of alcohol, he then joked with the cooks and sat on top of one of the counters by the window where all the food comes out. Sitting there drunk he was saying inappropriate sexual jokes to another employee who he was friends with. I brought up a weekend that I needed off coming up making sure that it was taken care of and was told “Bitch, don’t kill my vibe” immediately I demanded an answer to which he replied “Ok, bitch” I then told him again that he could not speak to me like that regardless of who he has spoken to in that manner in the past. I reported the problem the next day to one of our floor managers and she called the store owners notifying them of the situation. I was told I would be spoken to the following Monday by the owner. The owner instead sent my GM to speak to me and she wrote down my claim and assured me that this would not affect my working environment seeing as I was and am trying to move up to a serving position. After making the claim she told me not to worry because I would be moving out to the floor as she had promised since the day I started working there.

Later that afternoon she offered me a position at our Hollywood location being a server and an expo, I thanked her and told her I would think about it. Nothing seemed to change after this talk occurred and my manager was still very rude and unprofessional. Moving forward I chose to ignore him, only speaking to him when I needed to. About a month and a half ago a friend of mine who is employed at the same place had asked me about my relationship with one of our coworkers, when I told her there was no relationship and questioned her thoughts she notified me that my manager, the same one who had called me a bitch on numerous occasions, had told her our fellow coworker told our manager “Audrey wants the D”. Insinuating I was having some sort of relation with the man. Infuriated I confronted my coworker and he denied ever saying anything to our manager and suggested we would go to upper management.

That following Wednesday I spoke to the same manager that dealt with my problem the last time and she once again notified the owners. About an hour later, my phone being searched and thinking the problem had been dealt with I saw my friend crying walking to the office. I was then pulled out and told that the claims my friend had made were a lie. We then sat in front of each other and she did not have much to say to me except that she had used our manager’s name as a lie to cover up who really said the rumor. Upset and betrayed I carried on with my shift and insisted we talked another day.

I met with her a day later and was told that she was forced to lie for the manager who had called me a “bitch” in the past. When I complained to our manager she had called our GM letting her know what happened, our GM called my friend and asked her what had happened and my friend told her the truth, that the rumor was spread by my kitchen manager. Our GM proceeded to calling the kitchen manager and confronted him with the issue and he had denied saying it, our GM called my friend back and asked her again what had happened. By this time the kitchen manager had already gotten a hold of my friend and told her to lie for him because his job was on the line. Feeling trapped she did just that and lied for him, saving his job. Though infuriated I knew there was nothing more to do, the damage had been done. I then felt my job had become very unstable knowing he was going to try and fire me the first chance he got.

I wrote our GM a letter because she had not been at our location for a very long time declining her offer to move to a different location because of its inconvenience to me and also asked for a copy of the two incident reports made. About a week later she let me know she would have the reports ready for me. I have still not received the reports; it has been about two weeks. Our GM had put in her two weeks two weeks before the next incident occurred. After being told I would be on the floor by late August (We are now in mid-September) I had decided to go ahead and ask my manager who was like the temporary GM if I could be moved out to the floor and he had agreed notifying me that he would speak with our scheduling manager, I waited about a week knowing he is forgetful and asked our scheduling manager if he had that conversation yet. He told me he had not but that he would bring it up the next chance he got.

About two hours later he told me he had the okay and would speak to the kitchen manager about when he could train me to be a server. By the end of my shift (Saturday) I had received a training schedule for the week starting Monday.

Excited for my first day of training I go into work and greet my scheduling manager only to be told I could not serve because the owners had made the decision not to allow me. When I had asked why, I was given empty answers and was told to talk to our “temp GM”. When I spoke to him he notified me that the old GM, whose two weeks had already been up, told him she told me I could only get a hostessing shift of two if I transferred. I notified my manager that there is no way I could transfer because of school. He told me not to give up and to continue trying. I do not know what to do at this point and feel as though I am being punished for doing the right thing and speaking up against the harassment my manager caused. If you could give me any help I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

Signed, Punished

Dear Punished:

The fact that you’ve only worked at the privately-owned sports bar for six months and had such a difficult time argues that chances for having these matters resolved in your favor are not high. You have detailed the verbal abuse and false statements and broken promises. Now you can “suck” it in and take the hostess job you don’t want or refuse. If you take the hostess position, you can take it temporarily while requesting a review and investigation of the whole matter. Possibly, that will evolve into something you with which you can live. If you refuse, you can seek work elsewhere and that likely will be in your own best interest. We don’t provide legal advice; however, you might take your account of what has happened to an attorney or two to learn if they think you have a case for sexual harassment or hostile environment.

Have you career plans? How does this job you are in fit with your educational goals? Will you see this experience as being a victim or as one that guides you in qualifying for the kind of work where you can enjoy and make a contribution as well as put bread on the table? The fact of the matter is that most of us, if we ever find a job we love or can endure, achieve that by a process of elimination; we do some work we dislike and some in which we don’t fit and gradually acquire the kind of training and experience and luck that leads us to something in which we fit and like. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS is my shorthand for saying working with others in harmoniously doesn’t just happen. It takes persistence, competence, and the give and take of communication. Please know my brief response in comparison to the length of your story is not meant to discount your frustration.

FOLLOW UP Here’s additional advice from a woman who manages an animal clinic: Hey Dr. Gorden, I just read your email, I am very sorry. If its not too late, here would be my advice and if they would like, they are more than welcome to email me directly- calleym88@gmail.com:

Reply: Going to work should not make you feel that way and it is inappropriate for any one to treat another person in that manner in the workplace regardless of their position. That being said, all veterinarians do have their own way of doing things and they usually have their reasons. As they have a license to protect, it is very important to them that the people working with them are on the same page with them. What is not acceptable is the way the vet seems to be handling these problems. Again, cussing at anyone in the workplace is very inappropriate and being made to feel the way you are is not acceptable. If there is someone who handles any of the other Human Resources duties in the office? An office or practice manager is usually a good person to go to for advice in these situations as they are generally pretty aware of all of the issues occurring in the animal hospital. Hopefully they will be able to facilitate a solution to this serious problem.

If after talking to the manager (or someone in a similar position) the behavior doesn’t change, then I would recommend removing yourself from the situation or speaking directly to the veterinarian. If you do chose to speak to them yourself, do so calmly and explain how her treatment makes you feel. “I” statements are most effective in this sort of situation. Be aware though, if this doesn’t go well, your choice to stay or leave could be taken out of your hands. Good luck and try to stay calm. You probably got into the industry because you love animals. Don’t lose sight of that and if you do end up needing to look for another position, make sure not to “bash” your previous employer during the interview process.

William Gorden