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  • Discrimination

    I am a Supervisor that oversees several programs run by individual Program Managers (PM). In our office I have an Office Manager(OM) that also assists all other programs. I have a PM that does not like our OM one bit. This particular PM also hires a seasonal staff during busy times of the year. The PM used to organize a Christmas/appreciation party for all staff that participates in the program and everyone in the office and it was held at a public place. In recent years, the party has been held at the PM's house where excellent dinner/drinks/gifts were provided. Last year the PM was late in inviting the OM which appeared to be on purpose but this year the PM did not invite the OM at all but invited EVERYONE else. The OM is the only one not invited. I have had problems with this PM in the past, particularly with his attitudes toward women and our OM. As you can probably guess the PM is male and the OM is female.

    MY question: I do have performance appraisals etc where I can address respect to coworkers, teamwork, etc but has he gone to far and into outright discrimination? Can it be addressed for a gathering at his own residence. It is being advertised as a party in relations to the program. I am sick of this grade school drama. I do have HR and legal resources I will be working with but would like some other input. Thank you.

  • #2
    Did he not invite the OM to the party because he does not like her, or because she is female? Were other females employees invited?

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    • #3
      In theory, it's not discrimination if the exclusion is based on the personality conflict and not her sex. However, a halfway decent lawyer could certainly make it seem like such a blatant exclusion is symptomatic of someone who has a problem with women in general as one piece of evidence in a larger case.

      Does the company sponsor or contribute to this event at all? Because, even if it's not illegal discrimination, it's certainly unprofessional, unkind, and against company interests to exclude just one person from a company event. If so, then I would simply tell him that is not acceptable, and he MUST invite the OM and if he can't/won't, next year the party will be moved back to a public/neutral venue. OTOH, if it's a private event in his home, that he is hosting and paying all expenses for, I'm not sure you can do that, unless you have a general policy against employee's fraternizing outside of work.

      I think in any case, if you are this person's Supervisor, you CAN call them in for another talk about manners, respect, and treating people kindly. I think, while you can't demand that he invite someone to his home on his own time, you can tell him that his behavior is not kind or professional, and that you have noted it and are not pleased.

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      • #4
        I have had situations where I had two employees who did not get along. I had private one-on-one meetings with each of them telling them to cease and desist. I told them I did not care who started, but I would end it if I had to. When that did not work , I wrote both of them up. They both went to HR to complain about me. They apparently did not like the answer HR gave them (which was the same thing I said - that it was both legal and proper to terminate any employee who is messing up work place. One of them took me seriously and the other did not. Bye bye.

        She of course threatened to sue, and a few weeks later a got one of those $100 form letters from a no name attorney. I sent it back to them with a "go for it" notation. Last I heard of the subject

        There is a big advantage to firing someone in that the survivors all of sudden start taking things seriously. Be nice to your employees (and everyone else) when you can but do not let them walk all over you. It simply makes the clean up much more involved. Make people take things seriously day one.

        If the OP does nothing else, write this guy up. Get some paper in his file. The holiday party is the worst incident but apparently not the only.
        Last edited by DAW; 12-21-2018, 10:45 AM.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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