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What is on the job discrimination?
Old 06-09-2015, 09:57 AM   #1
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What is on the job discrimination?

Just curious what is considered on the job discrimination? Not looking to sue any one but where I work, a small firm with about 12 people, I have noticed there are signs the CEO is favoring some individuals while picking on others for no apparent reason.

The current CEO took over since the owner stepped back a couple of years ago but he is still the owner but has no responsibility at this point and rarely shows up. At first the transition was smooth but recently I have noticed that he will not reprimand some staff for coming in late while he will yelled or raise his voice on someone else that is a couple minutes late.

He will disappear or show up late when we are supposed to have a group meeting but if someone is late coming to the same meeting because he/she was on a business call, he will give a look or has some comment about lateness.

A couple of years ago before he became CEO, he screamed at two employees. The screaming could have been heard on our whole floor. The previous CEO had told him not to do that any more but that was it.

Any idea how best to deal with someone like that?
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Old 06-09-2015, 10:03 AM   #2
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I don't see anything in your post about "discrimination" (legal or illegal). It just sounds like the new boss isn't a good leader, at least as you see it. Supervisors and owners of companies have wide discretion to run their businesses, and some do it well while others don't. They can be petty, be insecure (sounds like what you are dealing with with your new boss), be impetuous, or just be jerks. If it is turning into a bad place to work, finding work elsewhere would probably be a lot better for you than to try to change him or the work environment. The old CEO can put anybody he wants in charge. Remember--you don't have a job, it belongs to the company.
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Old 06-09-2015, 10:16 AM   #3
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I agree with samclem. Don't read anything discriminatory in your writeup. There's no law about being fair to all, unless he's jacking with a protected class. Those are tough to prove, especially age. (IMHO).

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Old 06-09-2015, 10:20 AM   #4
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Not sure what recourse you'd have in a small private enterprise you describe. However, in my experience in local government the HR department would cure such a problem, especially if in fact there was a racial or gender component to those selected for special treatment. That goes for experience where unions and civil service were involved as well as where neither were. In my private sector experience I thankfully never experience such egregious behaviors. Good luck.
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Old 06-09-2015, 10:24 AM   #5
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Thanks for the response. I didn't put down he also makes racist remarks in front of some employees and the rage he goes into when a certain political events on CNN he disagrees with.

He hasn't targeted me but I know many of the employees do feel the work place has gone down but too afraid to say anything for obvious reason.

I guess my question is how to approach this gently by pointing out to him in private these actions are not ok at work, legal or not, especially racist remarks and screaming at staff. Honestly this is the strangest work place I have been with all my career.
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:23 AM   #6
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I didn't put down he also makes racist remarks in front of some employees and the rage he goes into when a certain political events on CNN he disagrees with.

He hasn't targeted me but I know many of the employees do feel the work place has gone down but too afraid to say anything for obvious reason.

I guess my question is how to approach this gently by pointing out to him in private these actions are not ok at work, legal or not, especially racist remarks and screaming at staff.
The other employees are probably behaving rationally. Do you think he doesn't know that racist remarks at work are inappropriate? Or that he thinks blowing his top or that treating people unfairly is a good idea? Of course he knows, he just doesn't care. There's nothing you are going to say to him that is likely to change his behavior, and plenty of reason to think you'll be adversely affected if you try to engage with him on this. If you just want to make a statement to him based on principle, go ahead, but realize that you'll likely be the first "troublemaker" let go when there's firing to be done.

If, for some reason, you want to "fix" this, you might try an anonymous note to the old CEO. Or just talk to him directly. He >does< have a stake in making sure the company stays successful (since he still owns it), and if the workplace environment gets crappy enough, he knows he'll lose good employees. If you go this route stick to the facts and explain that the work environment is suffering, that the lack of respect downward is making it very hard to respect the leadership. You might even mention that the racist comments leave the company open to adverse legal actions (though he probably knows that is very unlikely to occur). But with just 12 of you, you can be sure he'll know any note is from you, and that might not go down very well. In fact, you might very well get fired immediately. And you can also be sure that he knows the guy us a jerk, so I'm not sure that anything you say is going to make much difference.

Small companies can be great places to work, but the "culture" is very fragile and highly susceptible to rapid change. I'd say you should recognize that the company is no longer the one you used to work for, and that this is the "new normal." Look for greener pastures if they are available.
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:25 AM   #7
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Racist comments might be construed as hostile workplace.... but it's a hard case.

I think most of us have had the experience of working for a boss that plays favorites. I worked under one director that once you were on his s**t list no amount of exemplary work would get you off.... and eventually you'd probably be laid off or made miserable enough to quit. I had 3 or 4 excellent engineers fall on his bad side and get laid off.

But as mentioned - having no people skills is not discrimination - unless it's directed specifically at a protected class.
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:26 AM   #8
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I guess my question is how to approach this gently by pointing out to him in private these actions are not ok at work, legal or not, especially racist remarks and screaming at staff. Honestly this is the strangest work place I have been with all my career.
ask him if it would be okay for you to draft the company anti-harassment policy
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:32 AM   #9
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Were I you I would start shopping my resume around.

When I worked for DOL the person who answered calls was often heard to say "The only place Fair is found in the law is in the title."

In all honesty anti-harassment policies are not easy to write and enforce. Personally I wouldn't bother. Just find another employer.
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:45 AM   #10
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Were I you I would start shopping my resume around.

When I worked for DOL the person who answered calls was often heard to say "The only place Fair is found in the law is in the title."

In all honesty anti-harassment policies are not easy to write and enforce. Personally I wouldn't bother. Just find another employer.

IMHO Brat is absolutely correct. I was in a very difficult workplace situation, and I learned the hard way that I had absolutely no recourse whatsoever.

Sorry to sound defeatist, but there really is nothing you can do to right the injustices of your CEO. Yes, his behavior is appalling and wrong, and your desire to do something about it is understandable. But it is a losing battle. Get out of there now before you become embittered or become a target yourself.
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:00 PM   #11
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.. Snip...
Sorry to sound defeatist, but there really is nothing you can do to right the injustices of your CEO. Yes, his behavior is appalling and wrong, and your desire to do something about it is understandable. But it is a losing battle. Get out of there now before you become embittered or become a target yourself.
Both Brat and Rosie are correct. I w*rked at one place that was so hateful, threats of physical violence were very common. Actually of one of the co-owners spat in my face one day. I won, by creating a plan and leaving.


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Old 06-09-2015, 02:48 PM   #12
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If you can, you should try to get another job before the business implodes. Good businesses don't have to be unicorns-and-roses, but they tend to have a decent "vibe." A small firm that has turned into a dysfunctional family probably has its days pretty well numbered.

Good luck! Sorry you are going through this. I have seen a lot of dysfunctional bosses, and they usually get their comeuppance...eventually...after a lot of people and relationships have been damaged.

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Originally Posted by hlfo718 View Post
Just curious what is considered on the job discrimination? Not looking to sue any one but where I work, a small firm with about 12 people, I have noticed there are signs the CEO is favoring some individuals while picking on others for no apparent reason.

The current CEO took over since the owner stepped back a couple of years ago but he is still the owner but has no responsibility at this point and rarely shows up. At first the transition was smooth but recently I have noticed that he will not reprimand some staff for coming in late while he will yelled or raise his voice on someone else that is a couple minutes late.

He will disappear or show up late when we are supposed to have a group meeting but if someone is late coming to the same meeting because he/she was on a business call, he will give a look or has some comment about lateness.

A couple of years ago before he became CEO, he screamed at two employees. The screaming could have been heard on our whole floor. The previous CEO had told him not to do that any more but that was it.

Any idea how best to deal with someone like that?
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Old 06-09-2015, 02:59 PM   #13
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Taking him out back and kicking the crap out of him is probably illegal, so, yeah, polish up that resume.
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:18 PM   #14
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A company with 12 employees is not covered by most of the federal laws regarding discrimination. 15 is usually the minimum.
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:09 PM   #15
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....Any idea how best to deal with someone like that?
The best way to deal with him is not to deal with him.

Once you are emotionally and financially prepared to part ways and work elsewhere, take it up privately with the owner but don't hold your breath.... unless the owner is tone deaf he probably already knows and has chosen look the other way.
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Old 06-09-2015, 10:01 PM   #16
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The best way to deal with him is not to deal with him.

Once you are emotionally and financially prepared to part ways and work elsewhere, take it up privately with the owner but don't hold your breath.... unless the owner is tone deaf he probably already knows and has chosen look the other way.
good advice

never burn bridges
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Old 06-10-2015, 06:48 AM   #17
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Corporate politics, oh the joys of work. So glad I escaped.

Keep you head down and suck it up until you can ER.
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:13 AM   #18
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I'd be very, very careful if I were you. Most companies have leaders who have favorites, you'll possibly find that wherever you went. Your challenge is to turn yourself into an employee that everyone can count on with the goal of becoming so valuable that you're considered one of the favorites. Remember, also, that you may need this individual for a recommondation some day......and, many companies look for excuses NOT to hire anyone that even considered a lawsuit against his/her former employer. I've had this challenge at a couple of mega corps back when I was starting out......I made myself into a friend.....but.....I started my own company because I really hated depending on a boss to like me so I could look forward to coming to work every day. I even got fired once, by a boss that was disliked by many. My good luck was the HR department found me an even better paying job because they knew my boss was a jerk.....that's life.....you can't change it .....you can just change yourself so you enjoy every day so long as you have to work....there or elsewhere.
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:34 AM   #19
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I agree with samclem. Don't read anything discriminatory in your writeup. There's no law about being fair to all, unless he's jacking with a protected class. Those are tough to prove, especially age. (IMHO).

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I think you're confusing "job discrimination" with "workplace abuse".
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:09 PM   #20
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I think you're confusing "job discrimination" with "workplace abuse".
In post 22 perhaps. But what is w*rkplace abuse? I'm of the opinion it's discrimination run amuck.

In the case I described what the co-owner wanted was to influence my judgment. My position determined his profit.
He'd tried the typical bribes that worked on other guys, but I wouldn't fall for them. His next escalation was abuse. Best thing that ever happened to me, in hindsight! Made me escape from there. In my case that meant getting more education at night while w*rking days. I used that guy's behavior as my motivation to keep pushing on.

Back to the OP. The game you're seeing is called "You Can't Win". Going to the CEO will backfire and put you on the outs. Going to the owner will get back to the CEO and you're on the outs again.

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