I'm pretty sure a person in my office is mentally off. It's like he has two different personalities. He's a Jekyll and Hyde. We never know what kind of mood he's going to be in from one day to the next, which makes our pod area and working with him very difficult. When one of us brings it up to our boss, he blows us off. He obviously doesn't want to deal with it. We think it's because the guy is a producer and that's really all our boss cares about. Is there anything that can be done about this? Are there laws in Virginia or at the federal level that can make our boss (or our company) have to address this?
Sick of extreme mood swings
Dear Sick of extreme mood swings:
Given the nature of your question, I conferred with Laura Geringer Gross, an attorney specializing in labor and employment law with the Norfolk, VA law office of Kaufman & Canoles. She provided the following response with the caveat that it is limited by the small amount of information provided in your email:
“Obviously, if anything this individual says or does runs afoul of the company's harassment policy, such comments/actions should be reported in accordance with the reporting procedure in the policy. If, however, it is not a workplace harassment/hostile environment issue, there should still be other policies in place through which this conduct could be addressed. For example, there could be a professionalism policy, treating co-workers with respect policy, or even a communication policy. Assuming there is an HR person, my advice is to go to HR. Similarly, if there is a concern about potential violence, I would report the concern to HR. Violence can also be in the guise of "danger to self or others," which may raise Americans with Disabilities Act issues (and possibly the Family and Medical Leave Act). If the guy is just an equal opportunity jerk there may not be much the employer can do - unless it wants to.”
I work in what my organization considers a small regional office. We have three departments all working on one floor with workers in cubicles and bosses in their own offices with doors. Over the holidays, one of the departments had a Christmas party and didn’t include any of us from the other two departments. Many people were upset about this because we have always had parties together. Now, my department has decided to throw a July 4th bash with plans to exclude that department. I don’t think this is the way to go; it’s so juvenile, but it appears I’m the only one who feels this way. Everyone says it’s all about “an eye for an eye.” What do you think?
Against juvenile behavior
Dear Against juvenile behavior:
At first blush, I am not only in agreement with your sentiments but surprised that your boss is allowing this exclusion. If you follow my column, you know I am all about The Golden Rule. That being said, given the history of your office’s celebrations, there may be something going on behind the scenes that you are not aware of. Regardless, I see nothing wrong with your or another department having its own intimate party if it is done in a non-spiteful way.
My co-workers and I had a big blowup with our boss, which caused upper management to move our boss out of our unit. We were real pleased with the move, but now I hear that my old boss is being asked to weigh in on our performance evaluations. In what way is this appropriate? A lot of my co-workers don’t think we need to be concerned, but I can’t see him giving me a decent appraisal. Any suggestions?
Fearful of old boss’s appraisal
Dear Fearful of old boss’s appraisal:
I understand your concern, but it is not unusual for organizations to have set policies on such matters. Oftentimes, one’s previous supervisor is required to provide input on one’s performance if he/she had supervisory responsibilities over a certain period of time. I would contact your HR to determine your organization’s policies. Additionally, as in all performance reviews, be well prepared with detailed documentation of all your work. And keep in mind that your upper management is aware of the “blowup,” so, hopefully, this former supervisor will be fair in his assessment of your work.
© 2011 Rozanne R. Worrell