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employee creates a "hostile environment" for manager in South Carolina

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  • #16
    I understand the frustration. Truly I do. If the mediation isn't to fix the harassment issue per se, I would not mention it. No sense fueling the fire. What I would do is be very clear about what I expected of her as an employee. Be as objective as possible. What behavior/script do you need her to use with customers? What is the timeline for accomplishing tasks given? If you haven't given a deadline in the past, start doing so now so there is no mistake when you expect it to be done. Be clear, even if it should be obvious, when the final version of the product is due and what that means (correct dates, no typos, formatted, etc.). Set clear expectations regarding personal matters such as only using social media or checking home email during breaks and at lunch (or whatever your company permits). You can also talk to IT about blocking certain sites. This also gives you more objective measures to counter her claims that you are being unreasonable. Put the deadlines and details in email, even if you give them verbally first. "Jane, as we discussed in our meeting this morning, the report on the end of quarter results is due in its final format by 2 PM on Thursday. Please double check the numbers from Bill's group and format it according to the guidelines I sent you last week." etc.

    What skills are required that she does not possess or which you have not seen her demonstrate? Is it software? Equipment? Soft skills? Is there any training available to help her build those skills? Frustrating I know but by offering the chance to build skills she doesn't have or which need work, you are helping to dispel the myth that you are harassing her and unwilling to help her improve.

    Unless this is a legal mediation, most mediators aren't going to be certified in any way.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #17
      If you want, you can let us know how the mediation went. Once again, good luck.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #18
        I think OP's employee used the phrase "hostile work environment" by mistake. I think OP is making too much of what is indeed a mistake. HR has tried to tell her it's a mistake and that HR will not be dealing with it, but OP can't seem to let it go.

        I think what is really happening is that OP's employee is having a hard time getting along with OP, and made a complaint about this (mistakenly calling it a "hostile work environment" when it really isn't, as acknowledged by HR). When employees complain to HR about not getting along with their managers, the correct response is to have the employee and HR undergo a conflict resolution process. This is what HR is doing.

        OP needs to wipe the "hostile work environment" thing from her mind and proceed as if this phrase had never been spoken.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by eerelations View Post
          I think OP's employee used the phrase "hostile work environment" by mistake. I think OP is making too much of what is indeed a mistake. HR has tried to tell her it's a mistake and that HR will not be dealing with it, but OP can't seem to let it go.

          I think what is really happening is that OP's employee is having a hard time getting along with OP, and made a complaint about this (mistakenly calling it a "hostile work environment" when it really isn't, as acknowledged by HR). When employees complain to HR about not getting along with their managers, the correct response is to have the employee and HR undergo a conflict resolution process. This is what HR is doing.

          OP needs to wipe the "hostile work environment" thing from her mind and proceed as if this phrase had never been spoken.
          KiKo, this is exactly what I was thinking. Your statement that "now I am dealing with a potential legal issue and am not getting back up from HR" seems like you are putting a lot more stress on yourself than this deserves. It is really a personal conflict and HR seems to be responding as such, not treating it like "a potential legal issue" just because the employee may have used the wrong words to describe the situation.
          David K. Staub (www.illinoisbusinessattorney.com)
          Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.

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          • #20
            I've just survived a similar thing at my work. I was cleared in the internal investigation. The complainant's charges were completely fabricated. And that came out in the investigation. What killed me, however, was how much time this farce took up. I lost hours documenting, scheduling meetings with HR and internal investigators, and lost many nights of sleep over it. I hope the mediator moves you through the process quickly.

            Originally posted by kiko View Post
            Betty,

            Thank you for your responses here and below. I saw your link below on another thread. It is a great resource and validates my understanding of the environment that constitutes a "hostile" work environment. As I have indicated above, her claims are not valid and with an investigation this will come out. What is the most frustrating is our department is so busy in meeting the needs of the company and taking 5 hours out of my day this coming week will be a hardship on me... She will not suffer because she is non-exempt and will only work the hours required by her.

            I would like to think the mediation will help but the person who is meeting with us is not a mediator. Nor is she licensed. She states she will not be addressing the "hostile work environment", her job is to make us better "collaborators". She states she wants nothing to do with the claims by my admin. I personally question the use of company funds in this manner and by this person at this time. I believe conflict resolution is a better choice under these circumstances. But I will go through the process and hopefully learn something new.

            Thanks, again.

            KiKo

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            • #21
              LindaT you have been warned about necroposting with all these "similar issues" that you have (and gosh there are so many of them! your life must be so exciting!), on this site and the other legal sites. You really should stop doing this, or you may find yourself unable to post anything anywhere. Just a friendly reminder.

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