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Your Office Coach

Each Wednesday, nationally syndicated workplace columnist Marie G. McIntyre, Ph. D., answers your “in the trenches” workplace questions on everything from team-building to getting a raise to dealing with difficult people.

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Question:  “Last year, a woman in our company wore a red satin corset, tight skirt and eight-inch platform heels to the holiday party. Although this outfit was not particularly revealing, one of the vice presidents thought it was “trashy looking.”  She believes employees should dress conservatively at business functions because they are still representing the company. Our executive team did not object to the “corset outfit” and prefers not to dictate what people should wear to office parties. However, the offended vice president, who is one of our top salespeople, refuses to attend any function where this type of dress is allowed. As the HR manager, I need some advice on how to resolve this issue.” —  Caught in the Middle




Question: “I am a fairly new manager. One of my employees thinks he knows everything and frequently talks back to me. Every morning, I have a short staff meeting, and so far this guy hasn't shown any signs of wanting to attend. I told him that I might need his input and asked if he's ever going to join the meetings. He replied that he saw no point in it.  What should I do ?” —  Baffled Boss

Question: “I am a fairly new manager. One of my employees thinks he knows everything and frequently talks back to me. Every morning, I have a short staff meeting, and so far this guy hasn't shown any signs of wanting to attend. I told him that I might need his input and asked if he's ever going to join the meetings. He replied that he saw no point in it.  What should I do ?” —  Baffled Boss

Question:  “Our office manager constantly takes aim at minorities and older employees. After we sent an anonymous letter to the human resources manager about this woman’s prejudiced behavior, he posted a notice saying only signed complaints will be investigated. If we sign our names, we know the manager will retaliate.  She has a history of firing people who protest her heavy-handed tactics, and her boss wholeheartedly supports her. If human resources won’t consider our complaint, what can we do?” — No Way Out

Question:  “Our office manager constantly takes aim at minorities and older employees. After we sent an anonymous letter to the human resources manager about this woman’s prejudiced behavior, he posted a notice saying only signed complaints will be investigated. If we sign our names, we know the manager will retaliate.  She has a history of firing people who protest her heavy-handed tactics, and her boss wholeheartedly supports her. If human resources won’t consider our complaint, what can we do?” — No Way Out

Question:  “I suffer from adult attention deficit disorder (ADD). After a recent mishap at work, I mentioned this to my boss. She said she knew nothing about ADD but was glad I told her. Since then, I have noticed that she treats me differently. My co-workers talk about me behind my back and seem to think I’m not very bright, which is so far from the truth. What advice do you have for someone in this situation?" —  D.F.

Question:  “I suffer from adult attention deficit disorder (ADD). After a recent mishap at work, I mentioned this to my boss. She said she knew nothing about ADD but was glad I told her. Since then, I have noticed that she treats me differently. My co-workers talk about me behind my back and seem to think I’m not very bright, which is so far from the truth. What advice do you have for someone in this situation?" —  D.F.

White Paper published by The HR Specialist ______________________ Most employers understand the importance of doing a fair and thorough investigation when they receive complaints of on-the-job harassment. In-house investigators (usually a human resources manager) often do a good job of interviewing the right people and documenting the interviews but then fall short when it comes [...]

Question:  My supervisor, “Jake,” is infatuated with me. He vies for my attention and pouts when I insist on keeping our relationship strictly professional. He has even hinted to his buddies that we’re having an affair, which is totally untrue. Before his behavior became obsessive, I used to be friendly with both Jake and his wife. I keep telling him that I’m not interested, but he still continues this sad, pathetic fantasy. Short of filing charges, how can I put a stop to this? — Not Interested

Question:  My supervisor, “Jake,” is infatuated with me. He vies for my attention and pouts when I insist on keeping our relationship strictly professional. He has even hinted to his buddies that we’re having an affair, which is totally untrue. Before his behavior became obsessive, I used to be friendly with both Jake and his wife. I keep telling him that I’m not interested, but he still continues this sad, pathetic fantasy. Short of filing charges, how can I put a stop to this? — Not Interested

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