Category Archives: How to

Cultural Issues Makes Employee Uncomfortable

imagesThis question came in from one of Dacri’s HR HelpLine clients.

Question: I have a male international worker who has made one of my female non-international worker uncomfortable with some of the comments he has made to her. I am going to address this with him, but I want to make sure I handle this correctly. Some of the comments were how she needs to learn to cook for her husband and the like. She said he also has an attitude that she can’t handle some of the tasks because she is female. I know the Jamaican culture is quite different from here, so I want to let him know that he is making her uncomfortable without discounting what he believes to be true…Any insight you can provide, will be most helpful.

Expert Advice: While it is important to be sensitive to different cultures and an individuals personal beliefs, that does not give anyone license to espouse their beliefs to all. I would pull him aside, let him know that you have something to discuss with him that may make him uncomfortable, but his comments (walk him through them) are making some people uncomfortable. Let him know that this kind of language is unacceptable in the workplace and you expect it to stop immediately. At this point, stop talking and wait for his response. Assuming it goes well (it should), tell him you hope this is the end of it. Then, document your discussion. Let the female employee know you’ve talked to him and let her know if it happens again to let you know immediately. If it does happen again, I recommend a formal written warning, but let’s further discuss at that point.

It is important to be sensitive to cultural issues, but in this case, his comments are making your other employee very uncomfortable. After you address this, follow-up with the female employee in a few days to be sure everything is OK.

If you would like to learn more about Dacri’s HR HelpLine service, where you can get all your workforce questions answered, click HR HelpLine.

Other posts you may want to read:

  1. HR HelpLine: When You Need Expert Advice
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  3. Medical Marijuana: Hospitality Issues
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Filed under Employee Relations, How to, Management

First Job Interview & Helicopter Parents

photo posted on post-gazette.comThis post was written by a Dacri & Associates client and posted on March 13, 2014

I received this email below from one of my clients. She was obviously frustrated. I thought her message was valuable and asked if I could post it. She reluctantly agreed, but only if I did not reveal her name or company (a family of restaurants).  What do you think about what she has to say? Let us know in the comment section.

“You need to write something…blog it….shout it from the roof tops!  PARENTS….I know you love your children and want to help them…BUT PLEEEEEZ!!!!!!!  Teach them how to apply for a job….ALONE.  DO NOT CALL FOR THEM.  DO NOT ACCOMPANY THEM IN TO THE BUSINESS and ask for the application for them….while they stand timidly behind you.  Role play with them at home.  Practice filling out applications…you can find templates on the internet!  If you need to drive them to apply…WAIT IN THE CAR.

Please parents, do your children this favor and teach them to be independent!!  I personally would rather see someone applying for their first job be a bit nervous but independently trying, than to have a parent come in and do all the talking.  I definitely would not hire anyone who applies in this manner either!”

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Filed under How to, Management, Recruitment

Job Abandonment: How Should Employers Handle?

I received a question from a client who uses my HR HelpLine Service about an employee who has apparently abandoned his job. Here is the client’s question and my advice on how to handle it:

Client Question: We have an employee who has gone MIA (he has done this in the past also, apparently he has a significant drinking problem). We are in the process of terminating him for absenteeism and failing to show up for scheduled shifts. We have called his cell phone numerous times with no success at connecting with him. Is there anything we need to do on our end other than to document the reason(s) for his termination? Should we send a letter of termination to him?

 Answer: To begin, your desire to terminate is because the employee has an absenteeism problem and has failed to call in when absent, consistent with your policy. Do not discuss the alleged issue of drinking. This is not an issue unless you actually see him drinking on the job or he admits he was drinking. Stick with the issues you know: he has not shown up for his scheduled shifts and he has not called in to inform you of his absences.

 Note: Employers should never accuse or suggest that someone has been drinking or has a drinking problem. You should only discuss performance related issues. Stick to what you know or what you observe. Do not surmise, diagnose, or act simply on rumors. Focus on observable behaviors. In this case: no call, no show—repeatedly.

Since you have tried to contact him a number of times without success, you can move forward with the termination for job abandonment. Send a certified letter, return receipt. Tell him after continued absences and his failure to call in to inform you of his absence; and after your repeatedly calling him to find out where he was, you are terminating his employment due to job abandonment, consistent with your policy, as outlined in your employee handbook. Keep the letter short. You should also keep in the file his record of absences and the days and times you tried to contact him. Note that you left messages for him to call you and he did not do this.

Pay him all monies owed including any unused, accrued vacation time.

If he should contact you with a legitimate reason for not contacting you and working, then you may have to reconsider your decision. But multiple violations of your attendance and call in policy constitutes job abandonment.

If you have employee questions, call our HR HelpLine. I provide operational advice, not legal advice, on how to address difficult employee issues.

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