Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: happygrrl on May 13, 2013, 06:43:56 PM

Title: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: happygrrl on May 13, 2013, 06:43:56 PM
I'll try not to be long winded here, but I have an older co-worker(CW) who has been nothing but rude and contentious to me for the 5 months that I been at the company. Since she is older (I was taught to respect my elders), and only works 4 days a months, I have left the incidents slide. Until 2 weeks ago.

CW refuses to call me by my name, despite my name tag, and that fact that I have asked her before to use it. She came into our training room, where my office is, and started twapping me on my shoulder with a rolled up newspaper, while saying, "Sue, Sue, Sue, Sue..." (my name is Sharon), and trying to talk to me while i was trying to assist an employee that was taking a state mandated test (CW knew what the employees were doing). I turned to her and asked her in a low voice (tests, remember) to call me by my real name, and she got huffy with me and started talking loudly how she was just trying to help me (???), and that I was rude, and she was just making a ruckus (tests, remember?) This was in front of the employees, and another coworker. I chose to ignore her, and she left, and then started on me again to my office mate (who was coming back in from lunch), and I went out into the hall, and closed the door, and proceeded to tell her that I didn't appreciate her talking about me behind my back, and if she had something to say, then say it to my face. She said I was rude, and I apologized, and told her that I was trying to proctor at (she knew that), and that we didn't need the interuptions. she went to HR, filed a complaint against me, and myself, and my office mate got called in for a formal statement.

She will be back into my office area on Thursday. I want to not say anything to her, but from reading another thread, would this be considered rude/childish? I just don't want to say anything to her. I just have a gut feeling that she is spoiling for a fight, and I don't want to go there. However, she must be in the room, and so must I. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: MrTango on May 13, 2013, 06:58:53 PM
Go straight to HR with this one.  If I were in HR and I found out that an employee knowingly disrupted another employee's training/testing, I would come down very hard on them.

Oops, missed the part where she went to HR herself.  If she wants to string herself up, let her.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: WillyNilly on May 13, 2013, 07:23:46 PM
First of all, for your own sake and that of everyone else, if you are in the US, banish this thought for your entire mindset, permanently:

Since she is older (I was taught to respect my elders)... I have left the incidents slide.

At work, everyone is the same age: adult. Anything else is grounds for your being considered age-ist and discriminatory.

That said, I think you should respond, non emotionally, factually to the complaint. Be as specific as possible - dates, times, quotes, etc. Let HR know exactly what happened with this incident, and what has happened in the past (the past being relevant as to why you confronted her).

As far as saying anything to her - this is now an HR situation. You should speak to her about work related issues as they arise, but do not bring up the incident until HR has addressed it with both of you. If she tries to bring it up, calmly say "that is not something I will discuss with you, its in HR's hands now."
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: happygrrl on May 13, 2013, 07:36:37 PM
I am in the US, and you're right. I wish I would have never let that factor into my decision not to say anything about her treatment of me earlier. That will never happen again; lesson learned.

And I really like your wording. Thanks! :)
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: DollyPond on May 13, 2013, 07:54:47 PM
I can't get past the twapping on the shoulder with a rolled up newspaper.  Where/How is that EVER appropriate behavior???
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: LEMon on May 13, 2013, 08:01:02 PM
Have you been able to give HR a full version of what happened?  If not, do it ASAP.  Get the test taker to give their side.  Do not let her be the one to paint you as the bad guy.  Let HR know that there are issues to be dealt with here: striking you repeatedly with a newspaper, showing you no respect by refusing to call you by your name, not respecting the testing conditions, discussing private matters with other people, etc. 

Icily professional would be the way to go.  Only deal with her regarding work.  Do not allow yourself to apologize if you have done nothing wrong.

Plus document. 
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: sammycat on May 13, 2013, 08:07:06 PM
Have you been able to give HR a full version of what happened?  If not, do it ASAP.  Get the test taker to give their side.  Do not let her be the one to paint you as the bad guy.  Let HR know that there are issues to be dealt with here: striking you repeatedly with a newspaper, showing you no respect by refusing to call you by your name, not respecting the testing conditions, discussing private matters with other people, etc. 

Icily professional would be the way to go.  Only deal with her regarding work.  Do not allow yourself to apologize if you have done nothing wrong.

Plus document.

POD  and pod also to ridding yourself of the thought that her age gives her automatic right to respect. It most definitely does not.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: artk2002 on May 13, 2013, 08:12:11 PM
Be preemptive. If you have another run in with her, go straight to HR.  Make sure tour story is the first one heard.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: Ygraine on May 14, 2013, 10:32:56 AM
If you haven't already started documenting these instances, start now. 
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: veronaz on May 14, 2013, 02:44:08 PM
Quote
Since she is older (I was taught to respect my elders), and only works 4 days a months, I have left the incidents slide.

happygrrl, I'm curious what you mean by "older".  ???

(I feel she was rude, btw, but i'm puzzled by that part of your post.)
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: Hillia on May 14, 2013, 02:48:05 PM
Older than the OP, I imagine.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: veronaz on May 14, 2013, 02:56:13 PM
Older than the OP, I imagine.

Obviously, but what age would that be?
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: CakeBeret on May 14, 2013, 02:59:00 PM
Older than the OP, I imagine.

Obviously, but what age would that be?

I don't see why that's relevant. I'm confused by your line of questioning, to be honest.

OP, the woman sounds like an immature power tripper. I think you should write or type your account of what happened before you meet with HR, and read it over several times to make sure you're not leaving anything out. Give HR names of the test-takers who witnessed this woman badgering you while you were proctoring the exam.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: Hillia on May 14, 2013, 03:01:52 PM
The OP states that she was raised to 'respect her elders' - in many families/cultures, this means that persons older than you are not to be questioned, ever, and that anything they do or say is automatically right.  This explains why the OP was not more proactive when the coworker was rude and disrespectful to her at the outset.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: veronaz on May 14, 2013, 03:03:39 PM
Older than the OP, I imagine.

Obviously, but what age would that be?

I don't see why that's relevant. I'm confused by your line of questioning, to be honest.

OP, the woman sounds like an immature power tripper. I think you should write or type your account of what happened before you meet with HR, and read it over several times to make sure you're not leaving anything out. Give HR names of the test-takers who witnessed this woman badgering you while you were proctoring the exam.

It's only relevant because it was an issue in the opening post.

Not sure why you're confused.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: artk2002 on May 14, 2013, 03:04:10 PM
Older than the OP, I imagine.

Obviously, but what age would that be?

It doesn't matter whether the woman is a day, month, year or decade(s) older than the OP. Her age does not give her any kind of superiority or authority in this situation. Sadly, many people are raised with the idea that respect always flows from younger to older and not the other way. It doesn't matter what the definition of "older" is -- in some families, a cousin born one month earlier is "older" for this situation.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: WillyNilly on May 14, 2013, 03:07:31 PM
The OP has already addressed the age issue in post #3.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: veronaz on May 14, 2013, 03:08:29 PM
The OP states that she was raised to 'respect her elders' - in many families/cultures, this means that persons older than you are not to be questioned, ever, and that anything they do or say is automatically right.  This explains why the OP was not more proactive when the coworker was rude and disrespectful to her at the outset.
Yes, I'm familiar with and know the meaning of the expression "respect your elders".  Thanks.
"older" could mean 30, 45, 62, 27, etc. depeding on OP age.

It's just a question about something which was stated - not something worth anyone getting upset about.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: veronaz on May 14, 2013, 03:10:08 PM
Older than the OP, I imagine.

Obviously, but what age would that be?

It doesn't matter whether the woman is a day, month, year or decade(s) older than the OP. Her age does not give her any kind of superiority or authority in this situation. Sadly, many people are raised with the idea that respect always flows from younger to older and not the other way. It doesn't matter what the definition of "older" is -- in some families, a cousin born one month earlier is "older" for this situation.

???

I didn't say or imply that it did; quite the contrary.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: Eeep! on May 15, 2013, 05:23:37 PM
The OP states that she was raised to 'respect her elders' - in many families/cultures, this means that persons older than you are not to be questioned, ever, and that anything they do or say is automatically right.  This explains why the OP was not more proactive when the coworker was rude and disrespectful to her at the outset.
Yes, I'm familiar with and know the meaning of the expression "respect your elders".  Thanks.
"older" could mean 30, 45, 62, 27, etc. depeding on OP age.

It's just a question about something which was stated - not something worth anyone getting upset about.

I think people are responding like this because it's hard to see what an answer to the question would add to the discussion.  If the OP said the person was 50.  OK. Then what? I guess it could lead to a discussion of whether 50 is appropriate to be called "older" but that doesn't sound very productive or helpful with the situation the OP was asking about. So there really doesn't seem any point in teasing out that particular detail.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: veronaz on May 15, 2013, 05:29:51 PM
I wasn't teasing.

I asked OP a question, and clearly said I was just curious.  I see lots of things which don't always add to the discussion.  If OP chose not to answer, or even return to the thread, that's okay.

But others jumping in and saying something not only mentioned but emphasized in the initial post isn't relevant, going off on tangents, and further directing me not to ask OP about it?  Odd.

But, moving on....................
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: Eeep! on May 15, 2013, 05:38:57 PM
I wasn't teasing.

I asked OP a question.  If she chose not to answer, or even return to the thread that's okay.

But others jumping in and saying something not only mentioned but emphasized in the initial post isn't relevant, going off on tangents, and further directing me not to ask OP about it?  Odd.

But, moving on....................

Oh sorry - I meant teasing as to parse out into minute detail, not tease as in make fun of.  Bad choice of words - my apologies!
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: veronaz on May 15, 2013, 05:40:24 PM
Yes, I know exactly what you meant. 
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: Hillia on May 15, 2013, 05:57:55 PM
The CW's age is relevant to the discussion in that it influenced the OP's reactions.  The OP did not react to the previous 4 months of rude treatment by the CW because of conditioning that 'older' people are to be respected and not questioned.  No one here is agreeing with that belief; the OP mentioned it only to proactively explain why she is just now considering what action to take after a length of time when many other people would have already done something.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: cass2591 on May 15, 2013, 06:01:27 PM
How about if the focus is not on the age of the coworker but rather on the OP's question.
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: Tabby Uprising on May 15, 2013, 06:03:29 PM
I wasn't teasing.

I asked OP a question, and clearly said I was just curious.  I see lots of things which don't always add to the discussion.  If OP chose not to answer, or even return to the thread, that's okay.

But others jumping in and saying something not only mentioned but emphasized in the initial post isn't relevant, going off on tangents, and further directing me not to ask OP about it?  Odd.

But, moving on....................

The point I think other posters are trying to make is that while the fact the co-worker is older is relevant, her specific age isn't.  Whether the co-worker is 35, 42, 47, or 58, so long as she is older than the OP, the OP feels compelled to respect her as an "elder". 

OP, I do think this is an issue you should take to your manager.  This is absolutely an issue a manager should address.  (Quick aside, from working in HR I know managers can often get upset when employees bypass them and go to us - especially if the issue isn't really under HRs jurisdiction.) 

In your case, your co-worker has filed a formal complaint with HR.  Let me also say that from my experience the only "formal" anythings are usually write ups done by managers and signed off on by the employee.  If HR didn't talk to you which is the utmost basic tactic for an investigation, then it's safe to say they didn't take it seriously.  I'm sure I've had a number of employees approach me in my career with what they thought were "formal" complaints, but was just me listening to them and saying, "This is an issue for you to resolve with your manager and your co-worker."
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: happygrrl on May 16, 2013, 07:06:06 PM
The CW's age is relevant to the discussion in that it influenced the OP's reactions.  The OP did not react to the previous 4 months of rude treatment by the CW because of conditioning that 'older' people are to be respected and not questioned.  No one here is agreeing with that belief; the OP mentioned it only to proactively explain why she is just now considering what action to take after a length of time when many other people would have already done something.

This. She is older by about 20 years, but she is also more experienced than me, so I just automatically deferred to her. I'm sorry I wasn't more clear, but Hillia summed it up perfectly for me. :)

HR did actually get a verbal and written statement from me and my office mate, and that's the last I've heard of it. However, I did see her today; she came into the training room, and didn't speak to me, but I said "Good morning", she responded in kind, and that was it.

Thanks to everyone who responded, and again, I apologize for not being clearer--
Title: Re: Spoiling for a fight
Post by: Slartibartfast on May 17, 2013, 10:26:03 AM
Here on eHell, we sometimes advocate for being cooly civil.  This sounds like one of those times.  Respond to direct questions, give brief acknowledgement when she says something like "Good morning!," and other than that, try to avoid involving her in your life more than absolutely necessary.

The "cut direct" is when you blatantly ignore someone - pretend you don't hear them when they speak to you, act as if they're not in the room, refuse to communicate in any way.  It's a major statement and it's uncomfortable for everyone else around you because they get dragged into your drama.  It's appropriate in a very few situations, but too often people say they gave someone the "cut direct" when what they really mean is they're being cooly civil.