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What to do about man who whistles while he works?

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in People Management,The HR Specialist Forum

There’s a guy in our shop who whistles almost nonstop at an ear-piercing level. His co-workers have asked him to stop, and then they asked me to ask him to stop. When I did, he said he had a right to whistle. Now whenever he sees me coming, he starts to whistle really loudly. This is causing a lot of tension in our shop, and a lot of his co-workers are getting very aggravated. I don’t believe this calls for any kind of formal discipline—that would be like disciplining someone just for being a jerk. Any ideas on what to do to get this guy to cut out his annoying behavior?—DS, Fla.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous Non Admin February 3, 2010 at 8:54 am

I can understand this problem so very well! Our HR head whistles in his office and it carries throughout several other departments. Also, we have a woman in my department that hums, sings, whistles and what-not quite frequently. Two fortunate things save my sanity though – 1. HR guy is not in the office very much these days. 2. My department gets along well enough that we can point out what our co-worker is doing and she will laugh then stop – many times she doesn’t realize she is doing it.

My advice – go to HR and explain what is going on and the steps taken to that point. They can then document everything and would hopefully offer advice or to speak with him themselves. Good luck!!


Leigh February 2, 2010 at 4:54 pm

If the OP is a private employer the employee does not have a right to whistle and the behavior can be address through disciplinary actions. Being a jerk is distracting to the other employees and effecting their work. I’d address the issue through HR and invite the guy to quit if he does not like it. If he keeps it up, fire him for insubordination. You’ll see the morale improve greatly. If you don’t address, you are going to lose a lot of good employees as soon as they can find other jobs. He is going to cost the company money in one way or another.


ntx February 2, 2010 at 4:43 pm

I hate to say it, but I have a feeling this guy’s co-workers may put an end to the whistling before you make any headway. Then you’ll have a different problem on your hands — disciplining because of workplace violence!

Jerks at work are a fact of life. Maybe he will get bored with his stupid routine. Like mom said, don’t give him the satisfaction of responding and maybe he’ll stop. Easier said than done I know.


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