Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: "No talking" policy

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    10

    Default "No talking" policy

    This is the most bizarre work environment I've ever been in. There are 12 of us in the dept. One V.P. and 2 managers under her. The rest all worker bees. There are about 350 employees total on site.

    This V.P. has a "unspoken policy" (you find out soon enough) that there should be no social interaction at all between anyone in the office unless it's directly related to your job. This means "Hello" and "Goodbye" is the extent of any social exchanges that are allowed to take place. It's like being in a library or a funeral home it's so quiet.

    This V.P. sent out an email last month to everyone in our dept. It said, "I need to ask each of you that if you want to socialize or talk to your co workers you'll need to go outside on your break to talk. I don't want to have to be a babysitter, so I need for each of you to monitor yourselves and keep conversations to a bare minimum so that no further action is required."

    I have witnessed her numerous times approach others in the office that may be standing at a coworker's desk (even for just a few minutes) and ask them, "Is this talking work related?" This happened to me last week when I was answering a question my coworker had asked me.

    Can this be considered a "hostile work environment" or a violation of employee rights?? This woman is a tyrant. The turnover is tremendous. The average hire will quit after 3 months.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    7,179

    Default

    As long as all employees are treated equally, it does not fall under the terms for a hostile work environment.

    Even if they weren't, being told to only talk about work isn't considered hostile behavior.

    Have you considered talking to HR?
    Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

    I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

    Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Thanks for the fast reply.

    Yes, I do want to talk with HR. There are a lot of positives for working here; I don't want to have to leave. If I can transfer that would be fantastic, unfortunately in order to transfer you need your boss's approval.

    I've heard through the grapevine that this V.P.'s reputation preceeds her. She is not well liked - however, the CEO likes her, which I imagine is why she's still there and nothing has been done about this.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    7,179

    Default

    Then know that going to HR may be putting your foot in a bear trap... but HR already knows about the turnover, and new hires are expensive.

    If the turnover rate really is 3 months, then the new hires aren't even paying for the hiring process.

    It's worth a shot.
    Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

    I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

    Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    37,389

    Default

    Hostile work environment has a very specific meaning under the law and this doesn't come even remotely close to meeting it.

    The fact of the matter is, you do not have a right to social interaction at work under the law. If your boss does not want anything but work related conversation while you are at work, she does not have to allow it. You're being paid to work; not to socialize.

    Do I think she's being petty? Sure I do. Do I think this is bad for morale? Of course. But she is not violating any laws or anyone's rights. This is strictly an internal matter.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    10

    Default Toxic environment

    Thanks for your reply. I understand about not violating any laws.

    Update:

    I've got an appt. with HR this week. I plan to transfer depts.

    Two other staffers visited HR last week about this situation.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    5,730

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by worktolive88
    This is the most bizarre work environment I've ever been in. There are 12 of us in the dept. One V.P. and 2 managers under her. The rest all worker bees. There are about 350 employees total on site.

    This V.P. has a "unspoken policy" (you find out soon enough) that there should be no social interaction at all between anyone in the office unless it's directly related to your job. This means "Hello" and "Goodbye" is the extent of any social exchanges that are allowed to take place. It's like being in a library or a funeral home it's so quiet.

    This V.P. sent out an email last month to everyone in our dept. It said, "I need to ask each of you that if you want to socialize or talk to your co workers you'll need to go outside on your break to talk. I don't want to have to be a babysitter, so I need for each of you to monitor yourselves and keep conversations to a bare minimum so that no further action is required."

    I have witnessed her numerous times approach others in the office that may be standing at a coworker's desk (even for just a few minutes) and ask them, "Is this talking work related?" This happened to me last week when I was answering a question my coworker had asked me.

    Can this be considered a "hostile work environment" or a violation of employee rights?? This woman is a tyrant. The turnover is tremendous. The average hire will quit after 3 months.
    Sounds like a fun place to work. Your employer's policy is incredibly stupid but it's not illegal and does not even come close to falling in the category of a hostile work environment. If your employer wishes to experience constant turnover and the resultant exorbitant costs to the organization, they are free to do so.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    537

    Default

    I agree with the others. As in the Scientology thread below, there is nothing illegal per se about having a boss who is a nut-job and shouldn't be allowed to manage an ant farm, much less people. I wouldn't want to work there and if hired there would transfer out ASAP. But the law doesn't prohibit someone who is a terrible boss solely for being a terrible boss. Nor does the law require that a boss use a level of intelligence higher than a rutabaga in managing his/her unit.

    Good luck to you!

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    10

    Default Bad bosses

    You made me laugh, and I thank you for that

    I especially enjoyed the rutabaga reference!

    Thank you for the good wishes, I'm going to need them.

Similar Threads

  1. Insurance question Maryland Massachusetts Federal
    By wendybeth77 in forum Massachusetts Family Law
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-21-2006, 06:42 AM
  2. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-08-2006, 03:12 AM
  3. Mileage policy help needed (MN)
    By jp597 in forum Wage & Hour Laws - Minimum Wage Laws
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-12-2005, 09:28 AM
  4. White Australia Policy to Yellow Australia Policy:
    By Anti Multi-Culty in forum Small Claim Court
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-19-2005, 02:37 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •