What to Do If You Are Being Sexually Harassed in the Workplace
Dealing With Workplace Ethics Dilemmas

Dealing With An Unhappy Employee

Reliability in the Workplace

Dear Ethics Sage:

Recently, an employee became upset at the fact that other employees were working in my place of business. She commented that she felt like “low man on the totem pole”. Each of these employees has a specific skill set, and is scheduled when the work requires their skill set. The employee in question has been experiencing personal issues, and bringing her emotions to the workplace. She is aware that other employees work on different projects, but for some reason had a problem with it on this given day.

At the end of her shift she stated that we needed to finish our conversation. I welcomed her to contact me when she was ready. Her efforts at contacting me have been fruitless, and she hasn’t expressed a desire to come back to work. It has been three weeks since the initial incident.

Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for writing to me about your experience with a difficult employee. This is a common question and I hope my answer will be helpful to others in your situation. Feel free to follow-up with any additional questions you may have based on my response.

It appears that you have reached out to the employee to keep the lines of communication open. That is the first step. If she seems to lack interest in contacting you or delays in doing so, it is a sign that she probably is no longer interested in the job or, at the very least, is exhibiting traits not desirable in an employee. You have to be able to depend on her and she has to fit into your vision of what are each employee's responsibilities and the goals for the organization. If you are convinced she doesn't see it that way, then I suggest you cut all ties with this employee. Three weeks is a long time to go by and it seems as though she is not reliable.

Post by Ethics Sage on July 11, 2011

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