Is It Harassment If My Supervisor Is A Jerk?

Dear Evil Skippy:

I have worked in my current job for three years. The first two were great. Then my boss was transferred to another facility and “Frank” became our supervisor. No one can stand him. He is a bully toward everyone, he is mad all the time and he barks orders instead of talking to us like human beings. Work was never stressful before but now it is awful. The company should be penalized for letting this guy supervise anyone. We tried to file a harassment claim with H.R. but the H.R. manager said it is not illegal harassment because “Frank” is not picking on anyone due to race or gender. That seems nuts. Does this sound like a good harassment claim to you?

— Kate

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Vacation Requests and Elvis (An ES@W Classic!)

images-266Dear Evil Skippy –

I supervise a department with 15 employees reporting to me.   Under our vacation policy, only one employee at a time can be scheduled for vacation from July 15th through September 1st each year.  (This is because of the special demands of our business – we are extremely busy during the restricted period.  The rest of the year, any number of employees can be on vacation at the same time.)  Employees who want to take vacation during the restricted period are allowed to reserve vacation dates up to one year in advance.  Whoever reserves a date first gets to have it.  Seniority is not a factor unless two people submit a request at the same time – which has never happened.

The problem involves August 16th .  One of my employees has always taken that day off because it is the anniversary of when Elvis Presley died.   My employee basically goes into mourning each year.  She says she is too sad to work and I do not think she is kidding.  The highlight of her life – according to her – was the year when she was able to “mourn” on August 16th at Graceland.  Her screensaver at work is a photo of herself at Elvis’s grave site – wearing black and setting a bouquet on the grave.

This year, another one of my employees wanted a vacation that included August 16th so she could attend her high school reunion out of state.  She requested the days off several months ago, but by then my other employee had reserved the date.  (The Elvis Mourner always submits her vacation request on August 17th for the following year).   I asked the Elvis Mourner to release the date since this was an important event for my other employee, but she flatly refused.  She seemed mad at me for even asking.  I think she was being unreasonable.  The other employee is no longer speaking to the Elvis Mourner.  What can I do in the future if someone has a good reason for being away but the Elvis Mourner refuses to budge?

–  Wants Fairness

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The Top Ten Ways To Save Your Lunch (When A Co-Worker Keeps Begging For Your Food)

Dear Evil Skippy:

I have a co-worker who I get along with just fine except for one thing. She keeps asking if she can have a taste of whatever I am having for lunch “because it looks so good”. This happens whether we are out with a group or just eating something from home in the break room. I do not want to keep giving her bites but I also do not want to appear petty or selfish. Should I just suck it up and share, or find a way to make her stop?

— Susan

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I Was Reprimanded For A Joke About Hiring A Hit Man

Dear Evil Skippy:

My manager reprimanded me because of something I said in a meeting last week. I was with my manager and three other supervisors (my peers) to discuss upcoming employee evaluations. When we were talking about one of my employees (who is known to be difficult to supervise), my manager asked me if I was having any problems with her. I said nothing that a hit man could not solve. He reprimanded me in writing for making a comment in violation of our policy against workplace violence. Would you have reprimanded me?

— Supervisor

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I Am Getting The Silent Treatment At Work

lawyer-car-accidentsDear Evil Skippy:

One of my co-workers stopped speaking to me and now several other co-workers (her buddies) are also giving me the cold shoulder. It started because I did not help this co-worker when she was having car trouble. It was our day off and I was on my way to the gym to meet my friends. I saw my co-worker at the side of the road with her car’s hood up. This was two blocks from a gas station on a busy street. I was running late, so I did not stop. The next Monday, I asked my co-worker if it was anything major wrong with her car. She flipped out when she realized that I had not stopped. She called me rude and inconsiderate. Was I wrong not to stop when it was obvious that she was not stranded?

— Perplexed

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I Don’t Want To Help My Boss Move (Again)

images-265Dear Evil Skippy:

My supervisor of three years moves a lot. He has lived in five different apartments since I joined his department and, because he knows I have a truck, he always asks me to help. I like the beer and pizza payment as much as the next guy, but am starting to feel like I am being used since he would pay a lot more for professional movers. He told us the other day that he is looking for a “better place” so I know I am going to be hit up again soon. I do not want to get on his bad side but I also do not want to spend another day off helping him move. How can I get out of it without looking like a jerk?

— Tired of Lifting

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My New Co-Workers Aren’t Friendly

welcome_wagon-1Dear Evil Skippy:

I started a new job last month. My new supervisor introduced me to the other employees in my department, but since that time no one has made an effort to get to know me. They have not asked me to join them for lunch or when they gather after work on Fridays. Here is my question: if I find another job (I had some other offers and am hoping one of the places still has openings), should I tell Human Resources it’s because of the cold reception? I don’t want to sound like a whiner.

— Feeling Ignored

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How Do I Motivate People To Volunteer For New Projects?

volunteer-205x165Dear Evil Skippy:

I manage twenty employees at our office. What is an effective way for me to instill more drive and enthusiasm among my workers? We have lots of special projects throughout the year, but when I try to get people to volunteer to be assigned to them all I get are excuses or silence. How do I motivate these slackers?

— Supervisor

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