Employee's Bad Behavior Demands Quick Response

Article excerpt

Byline: Joan Lloyd

Dear Joan:

We have looked through your archived columns on your website and we could not find one that relates to the problem my wife has. She works for a retail western wear store where she is one of the department managers. In recent months, on of the employees who works at the store has all but refused to follow direction from my wife and today she started to curse and yell obscenities at her while standing in front of the store manager.

My wife at first stood there and tried to talk to the store manager and the employee but decided after several minutes of the employee still cursing and yelling obscenities (including a racial slur) at my wife that the conversation was not going anywhere. Before walking off, my wife told the store manager that she could talk to the other employee first and that after they were done she could find her in her department and talk then.

After an hour had passed, my wife went to find the store manager so they could talk only to find that she had apparently done nothing and went home. Now my wife is worried about the hostile work environment that has been created and is not sure what to do now.

My wife has been with this company for over eight years and is not wanting to seek other employment but if the current situation continues, we are afraid that there is no other alternative. The other employee has been with the company for about four years and we are not sure why this has happened. My wife is not the only supervisor that has had problems with this employee, but this employee seems to have the most problems with my wife. The store has a Human Resources Department but we are afraid that if she goes over the store manager's head, that the repercussions could be just asbad as the work environment.

Answer:

This employee's cursing is unacceptable on many levels. Not only is it disrespectful and insubordinate, it is also a racial slur. In most workplaces that kind of behavior is a fireable offense.

It's hard to understand why the store manager would "do nothing" and leave. If this employee has had a history of this kind of inappropriate behavior in the past, as you seem to indicate, she may have discovered that there are no negative consequences. …