Don't like the snow? You can make a bookmark with the following text instead of a url: javascript:snowStorm.toggleSnow(). Clicking it will toggle the snow on and off.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Overt Physical Hostility by Manager

thepotato232thepotato232 Registered User regular
edited June 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello all,

I just encountered a fast food chain worker here in Colorado who had to leave work following an incident with her manager.

She'd been going to work with a sore shoulder (unclear as to whether this was a substantive injury to the shoulder sustained at work). While at work, the manager "lightly" punched the employee in the shoulder. Apparently, it isn't out of the ordinary for the manager to do so, it's often perceived as "playful," and it's often reciprocated. The action was enough to aggravate the shoulder, and the employee was not able to quickly perform the work she had been doing. Upon seeing the slowdown of her work, the manager shouted for her to "leave, and come back when you feel like working."

The preceding happened at work in full view of two other managers and several employees, all of whom were aware of the problem with her shoulder and did not take action to defuse the situation. The employee in question is a shade above 5' tall and meek and non-confrontational to a fault, while the manager is a former soldier half again the employee's body size, and is well known for an authoritarian management style. The employee is now at home, and afraid to address the manager's superior.

Obviously the perception of hostility is not sufficient for a case, but I'm writing this to inquire as to what laws, if any, appear to have been violated. "Assault" was the first word to come to my mind, but I did not witness the incident (only the aftermath), and have not been able to speak to witnesses. Specifically, I would like to know in what way the employer could be held liable before convincing the employee to complain, possibly jeopardizing a job she needs to make ends meet.

Does the collective here have any thoughts?

thepotato232 on
Butt inquiries are completely fair game.

Posts

  • ceresceres Just your problem OooModerator mod
    edited June 2011
    You have to tell us where you live.

    Also good to know: what is your part in this situation? Are you a friend of the girl? Coworker? Customer/stranger who overheard and want to help?

    edit: you DID tell us where you live, nevermind. The latter is still good to know.

    I've got my own life and I've got my own plans
    I hope you understand, and like the way that I am
    Dear Satan...
  • thepotato232thepotato232 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    We're in Colorado, U.S.A. as you noticed. Suppose I should have put that information somewhere it stood out more.

    And I am a friend of the girl, for my part, so I'm trying to gather information as opposed to following the initial "go there and punch / bitch the manager out" instinct.

    Butt inquiries are completely fair game.
  • EshEsh Tending bar. Eating out. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Have you bothered to ask the girl what she wants to do about this, "meek" or not, this is her business, not yours.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • thepotato232thepotato232 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    She's frightened and is trying to finish out the day at her second job without bursting into tears right now. After initially offering comfort, I'm in the process of obtaining meaningful information so I can advise her when I speak to her again tonight. Your post does not further that goal.

    And I'm her boyfriend, to clarify. It's our business. But thanks for assuming I'm in white knight / overbearing neanderthal mode as opposed to saying anything helpful.

    Butt inquiries are completely fair game.
  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    If you omit information don't get upset when people try to fill in the gaps, especially when you're trying to describe something you didn't see. you can't do this for her. she should see a lawyer.

    fwKS7.png?1
  • EshEsh Tending bar. Eating out. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    She's frightened and is trying to finish out the day at her second job without bursting into tears right now. After initially offering comfort, I'm in the process of obtaining meaningful information so I can advise her when I speak to her again tonight. Your post does not further that goal.

    And I'm her boyfriend, to clarify. It's our business. But thanks for assuming I'm in white knight / overbearing neanderthal mode as opposed to saying anything helpful.

    All information you didn't provide previously.

    But again, what does your girlfriend/friend want to do about this? Is she looking to press charges or something? I was trying to solicit more information from you so as to give actual advice. But thanks for over reacting.

    Is she upset about the playful jab in the shoulder or is she upset about getting yelled at?

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • ceresceres Just your problem OooModerator mod
    edited June 2011
    If she's freaked out, continue to offer comfort until she's less freaked out. That's goal #1. It sounds like you should have a handle with that.

    You're probably going to have to talk to her to find out what she wants before people here can be much help. Does she want to keep the job? Does she want to go on record with a complaint? Does she just want him not to touch her again? Does she want to let it slide and see if he does it again, or just forget about it?

    How long has she been working there? What kind of relationship, if any, does she have with the guy? I realize this is probably not all stuff you can answer, but it should be taken into account. It's probably best if you can find out what kind of outcome she is looking for here.

    If the impact, small as it may have been, further aggravated an injury, she may need to have that injury treated, and that means that there is money involved. If it just hurt momentarily but upset her a lot, that's also a problem, but it's a different kind of problem.

    I've got my own life and I've got my own plans
    I hope you understand, and like the way that I am
    Dear Satan...
  • ceresceres Just your problem OooModerator mod
    edited June 2011
    Esh wrote: »
    I was trying to solicit more information from you so as to give actual advice. But thanks for over reacting.

    Stop.

    I've got my own life and I've got my own plans
    I hope you understand, and like the way that I am
    Dear Satan...
  • thepotato232thepotato232 Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I omitted that information specifically because my question was limited to the legal implications of what happened. My girlfriend doesn't know what she's going to do because
    A) She's scared, and
    B) She needs the job to pay down loans and avoid default

    That's why, rather than show up here and make an impassioned rant about what a bastard I think the manager is and what I think she should do, I limited my question to the dry legalities of the situation. Since the nature of my involvement is on people's minds regardless, I followed up with that information.

    She's upset that her manager inadvertently caused her physical pain that interfered with her ability to do her job, and that said manager yelled at her and sent her home when her performance on the job deteriorated accordingly. This happened all of five hours ago while I was traveling for my own job, so I'm sorry we don't have an A-Z plan of action here. I'm aware that a lawyer is likely to come into play, I was just hoping to solicit a realistic perspective on the legal implications of the whole mess before I advise her to take action one way or another. I can and will comfort her and offer support until the cows come home, but I don't have the kind of real-world legal background that some people on this board have.

    Again, I'm only hoping for a preliminary brief on what this whole mess means legally.

    Butt inquiries are completely fair game.
  • EshEsh Tending bar. Eating out. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Wait till she comes home and talk to her about what she wants to do. If she wants to make a complaint, that's her thing. If she wants legal recourse, call a lawyer and talk about the "dry legalities" of it. Honestly, you're at way too early of a point to even be asking anything without knowing what she wants.

    You need to take some time, a few deep breaths, and calm down along with your girlfriend. Then figure it out.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • ihmmyihmmy Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Whether or not the manager was aware of the initial injury (sore shoulder) will be important to determine. If he did know, then he's a bit of a jerk. If he didn't, then she should be telling him, and asking him to not touch her shoulders as previous contact has aggravated the injury. IMHO (as a non lawyer type person), if he wasn't aware of the injury then she needs to sit him down and let him know what's up with her, to a) keep him from aggravating it again and b) sending her home injured without attempting to work around her injury at all.

    I'm afraid I'm not particularly familiar with workers' compensation legislation in the US, but it may be something to look into when the aggravation was incurred on the job (admittedly at the hand of someone else, but still, it may be something to file a claim for)

  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Hiding the fact that you're the boyfriend masks yourintentions.

    You want to address this head on..you want to take the problem (manager) and solve it (cutting him up with a rusty spoon). I know you've got a lot at stake here, so our advice for the situation has to address both you and her. Advice is always different based on our role - friends, lovers, parents, bystander, etc.

    First - She will need some recovery time..shes upset, and will need to vent. Listen first! Let her vent! DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, START BY SOLVING THE PROBLEM. This may take several hours or even days. Patience!

    Once shes had time to vent, then you can ask what she would like to happen.
    She can file a formal complaint - either with her place of employment or with the police department.

    The police would probably write this up as simple assault - which gets you a ticket, not handcuffed (much as you might like to watch that).

    The office will most likely bring the hammer down on the work culture and remind everyone of their responsibilities and boundries. Regardless of how friends you are with the boss, he is still the boss, and he doesnt have the luxury of the playful nature that co-workers share. The reason - he holds the power to send people home.
    Its her responsibility to report any workplace injury, or inform her superiors of any existing injury that prevents her from doing her job. They can't guess. Guessing makes them think she's lazy and gets her sent home.

    She can just quit. Shes working two jobs - it may be time to swap them out.

    No loan is so crazy that it cannot avoid a 30 day late mark. She can even call the bank and have them move the loan payment back a month for this exact purpose. Acting like loans are the sword of Damoclesis an awesome way to stress yourself the hell out.

  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Okay, am I the only one that thinks the OP is grossly overreacting? At the very least, about the whole 'physical' thing. I mean, by the OP's statement, it was a "light" punch that was done in a playful manner, and had previously been done and reciprocated.

    Now, what happened afterwards is something that your GF should talk to with HR, but asking about going to the cops and lawyers for assault and such seems silly, at least going by the account we have here.

    Spoiler:
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 a.k.a. Nubmonger/Antaeus#1352, 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion Oakland, CARegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    She needs to learn how to speak up for herself. Or, you know, express pain adequately. Because if you get punched in the shoulder and it causes so much injury that you can't do your job, then maybe saying, "Ow" might tip people off that some sort of line was crossed.

    If she didn't feel comfortable talking to that manager directly, she should've spoken to another one and mentioned that her shoulder injury has gotten worse because Ogre Manager Punchman Rawr hit her pretty hard. There's a good chance he didn't know, in which case an honorable person would probably recognize, "Oh hey, maybe punching someone in the shoulder who already had a shoulder injury isn't such a good idea my bad." Otherwise, he did know, and punching her was an accident or really jerkwad behavior, in which case she should have said something then and there.

    Now it's only going to get really messy, for everyone involved. She can either go back and tell her side of the story and hope they do something about it, or she can immediately go for the nuclear option and get a lawyer and sue them for $TEXAS. I'd recommend starting with the former.

    PS - You can't do anything here except support whatever decision she wants to make. Stop trying to fix her problems for her, and maybe help her to support herself instead.

    PPS - "Overt Physical Hostility"? Really? Get a reality check.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.
  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    She should, at the very least, file a complaint with HR so that it is documented if she chooses to take any other actions.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    The worst thing she could've done was probably leave when he told her too. She should've continued working through her shift and explained right then and there that she had a shoulder injury earlier and that the playful jab aggravated it.

    She needs to make it clear to the manager that while she knows it was playful that it still caused her pain and caused her performance issues.

    Here's what she does now:

    She needs to call the manager, speak directly to him. Explain to him that she had a shoulder injury that day, and she was working as she should, wasn't expecting the shoulder jab and it caused pain that she tried working through at a slower pace but was still expecting to do her job. She also needs to explain that she isn't pointing fingers or anything but that she wasn't expecting the shoulder injury, before the jab, to make her slow. Apologize for being slow due to the shoulder pain. Ask the manager if there's anything he'd like her to do in the future if she's aggravated the injury so as to not inconvenience the workplace and still be able to work her shift as it's required.

    That should at least open up the channel of communication. If he fires her for it, or whatever, go from there, get a lawyer. This guy will probably appreciate your communication. Tell her not to whine or cry, or start placing blame. You have to be cold and calculating, as non-human as that sounds.

  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    bowen wrote: »
    The worst thing she could've done was probably leave when he told her too. She should've continued working through her shift and explained right then and there that she had a shoulder injury earlier and that the playful jab aggravated it.

    She needs to make it clear to the manager that while she knows it was playful that it still caused her pain and caused her performance issues.

    Here's what she does now:

    She needs to call the manager, speak directly to him. Explain to him that she had a shoulder injury that day, and she was working as she should, wasn't expecting the shoulder jab and it caused pain that she tried working through at a slower pace but was still expecting to do her job. She also needs to explain that she isn't pointing fingers or anything but that she wasn't expecting the shoulder injury, before the jab, to make her slow. Apologize for being slow due to the shoulder pain. Ask the manager if there's anything he'd like her to do in the future if she's aggravated the injury so as to not inconvenience the workplace and still be able to work her shift as it's required.

    That should at least open up the channel of communication. If he fires her for it, or whatever, go from there, get a lawyer. This guy will probably appreciate your communication. Tell her not to whine or cry, or start placing blame. You have to be cold and calculating, as non-human as that sounds.

    I really think she should go through HR instead of confronting him on her own. Their job is to mediate disputes, they will have a sit-down between the two of them with a mediator so it doesn't become confrontational, and they will document everything.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    And the problem with the "assault" routine is you're going to have a hell of a time proving intent. Dude was pretty clearly just doing it as a friendly gesture. Some people are like this, if it makes you uncomfortable just speak up.

    Say, "Hey I appreciate your critiques and advice but I am really uncomfortable with the shoulder jabs, anyway I can get a handshake instead? I like it a bit more personable."

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    oldsak wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    The worst thing she could've done was probably leave when he told her too. She should've continued working through her shift and explained right then and there that she had a shoulder injury earlier and that the playful jab aggravated it.

    She needs to make it clear to the manager that while she knows it was playful that it still caused her pain and caused her performance issues.

    Here's what she does now:

    She needs to call the manager, speak directly to him. Explain to him that she had a shoulder injury that day, and she was working as she should, wasn't expecting the shoulder jab and it caused pain that she tried working through at a slower pace but was still expecting to do her job. She also needs to explain that she isn't pointing fingers or anything but that she wasn't expecting the shoulder injury, before the jab, to make her slow. Apologize for being slow due to the shoulder pain. Ask the manager if there's anything he'd like her to do in the future if she's aggravated the injury so as to not inconvenience the workplace and still be able to work her shift as it's required.

    That should at least open up the channel of communication. If he fires her for it, or whatever, go from there, get a lawyer. This guy will probably appreciate your communication. Tell her not to whine or cry, or start placing blame. You have to be cold and calculating, as non-human as that sounds.

    I really think she should go through HR instead of confronting him on her own. Their job is to mediate disputes, they will have a sit-down between the two of them with a mediator so it doesn't become confrontational, and they will document everything.

    I had incorrectly assume this was some fast food joint or something that had no HR department. I don't think the guy is a huge douchebag and overly harsh and condescending. I think she should try to talk to him first and resolve it.

    If he were your typical RAWRRHARHRGHFUCKYOU boss, then yeah. Going straight to HR in this case might be a bit overkill, because it seems like there is a salvageable manager-employee relationship there.

  • EclecticGrooveEclecticGroove Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    My advice would depend on how she feels this manager is.

    1) If he's normally reasonable and an all around OK guy. She needs to have a talk with him to settle this politely.

    2) If he's a raging hard ass douche of a manager that she just barely put sup with, then she should go to his manager (if possible), or just go the HR route.

    The scenario you placed in the OP does not warrant OVERT HOSTILITY. He did the same thing he always does (light shoulder punching) and she gave him no reaction save impacting work later. When he accused her of being lazy and to go home, she offered no explanation to him aside from going home.

    If she has an issue with the playful shoulder punches that's entirely separate from the issue presented here and should be brought up with his manager and/or HR accordingly.

    Even if the other managers knew her shoulder hurt, if she didn't say "ow, my shoulder hurts now and is impacting my work" they are not psychic, they can't know that unless she says something. And while it would have been nice if they stepped in right there and told this other manager that maybe her shoulder is bothering her now... if she didn't offer up that information to him previously or at that time, then what should they do? For all they know she WAS being lazy and unmotivated that day and just wanted to go home.

    Let her calm down and figure what she'd like to have happen, and see if there's even any issue when she goes into work again next time, it may be a total non issue. But if her shoulder is still a problem she needs to make sure any a manager she's working with that day know about it.

    And next time she has any injury/illness that could impact her work, or otherwise cause issues with her daily job duties she needs to inform her superiors immediately... that's just part of being an adult.

Sign In or Register to comment.