Written Up For An Argument Away From Work

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about write up argument with supervisor away from workplace:

I work part-time in a local gym. Not long ago after my shift was over and I was not on the property, me and my supervisor had a big argument about something that happened at work. One week later she wrote me up saying that I disrespected her. The argument was about work but it was not on the property and it was after working hours. Can she write me up for something that didn’t happen at work?

Signed, Feeling Wronged

DearĀ Feeling Wronged:

Sanctions like a write-up aren’t regulated in any way, so they are at the discretion of the manager or employer involved. I can certainly see why you’re frustrated about it, but anything that has to do with work can be acted upon, no matter where it happens. If your manager called you or contacted you purposely to talk about work and in the course of an argument about it, you said something she felt was a violation of a policy or rule, she would probably be viewed by those above her as justified in issuing you a formal warning not to do it again.If you two were interacting personally away from work (eating, shopping, at each others’ homes, etc.) and in the course of the conversation you got into an argument, I think it would have been better judgment for your manager to simply tell you how it made her feel and ask you not to say it again.

The problem now is that both of you probably will feel badly toward each other for a long time. I hope there is some way you can reach out a bit and get things back to a better situation. If your manager is always rude and mean to you and others, that’s one thing. You may not even want to keep working there. But, if she usually is OK and is trying to do what she has been told to do by her own managers, that’s something else. It probably will take some pressure off both of you if you if either of you are able to say or do something to open the door to normal communications. Sometimes just a joking remark about something you both find amusing will do it. Or, a question about some aspect of work that engages both of you for moment or two.Often something like that is eagerly grabbed as a way back from an unpleasant situation. You might want to be the leader in doing it.Whatever approach you take, I wish you the best in this situation.

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.