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Uncomfortable at work...

On Lawyer & Legal » Employment & Labor Law

12,031 words with 4 Comments; publish: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 00:40:00 GMT; (80078.13, « »)

The state is: Michigan

I am a manager in a restaurant. I made the mistake of hiring a guy to work two days per week as a bartender who is a lawyer for his full-time job. A labor lawyer, no less. I wasn't thinking. Turns out, he isn't the best employee. My company has a handbook. In this handbook, there are A violations, which are offenses that can result in immediate termination. Examples of A violations are theft, coming to work intoxicated, and improper treatment of co-workers, supervisors and guests. B Violations are issues that will require a process before terminating the employee, such as being late for work, poor work performance, etc.

So this guy I hired is crass. Please note that it takes a lot to offend me, as I work in a bar environment. Back in June this guy was disrespectful to me and called me stupid because he didn't agree with the way I do something. I documented him properly, had upper management sign the documentation, and attached a memo to upper management and for his file explaining that I felt this was grounds for immediate termination. Upper management decided to keep him on. A month ago, we had a guest complain about the rude treatment this guy gave them, and I documented this also, as an A violation. Upper management let it go again. During this employee's performance review, I have a whole section explaining to him that he needs to be more professional at work and follow through with our open-door policy if he is unhappy about a situation instead of taking it out in public. And now here we are, one month later and he offended me again on Saturday night. The cercumstances surrounding the event may or may not be significant and I will elaborate if necessary. Needless to say, the employee yelled at me in front of 3 other line level employees of mine and said "I don't give a f*&k about their tips" when I had questioned him about why he had rung an order in under another server's number. I immediately sent him home. I assumed that this was the final straw and that upper management would not allow this guy to work for us anymore, what.. with the history of his offensive behavior to both myself and guests.

Turns out that upper management decided to write him up once again, not for the disrespectful treatment of co-workers, but for insubordination, for ringing in the order after I had spacifically told him not to in the beginning of the night.

And now I have to work with this guy. I keep wondering where upper management will draw the line: does he have to physically assult me before they fire him? I know that many of you who read this are lawyers. Do you think the reason upper management allows this stuff to slide by is because he is a lawyer, and they are afraid of being sued? The offensive employee threatened "see you in arbitration" and has jotted down several times when he had heard me curse and upper management curse. But don't they realize that it is not the cursing that offended me.. it is the way he treated me? It was disrespectful. I would have never ever in a million years spoken like that to my boss. If I did, I am sure I would soon be unemployed.

So now I have to go to work and "manage" this guy who has been allowed to disrespect and humiliate me not once but twice. I am offended at the way the situation was handled, as if I am not important.... that he is more important to me. I don't ever want to cause any harm to my company and i love my job, but I seriously am considering looking elsewhere. Wouldn't it be ironic when I am the one who has to go elsewhere because I don't want to work with someone who is regularly rude and offensive? Any advice?

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  • 4 Comments
    • No one here would know why your management group has chosen not to fire this guy. I suggest you speak to them directly about it and ask their reasoning.
      #1; Fri, 17 Dec 2004 07:42:00 GMT
    • Sorry I was vague with my questions....

      1. Does the employee have any reason to sue us if we fire him? He came in with a list of 7 steps that we must take before firing him. I don't know what any of that means, but that is what my bosses told me. Something about being an "At will employee". I know that my personal opinion doesn't mean a thing when alligned with the law, but I feel he was rude and offensive to me and that he should be terminated.

      2. Since my employers have decided not to terminate him, it has now become a hostile work environment. I am uncomfortable working with this guy. The last time I wrote him up for being rude and offensive to me, it took more then two months before I could speak to him comfortably. I should not have to go to work and feel uncomfortable. I should not have to go to work and not be able to perform my job because I am afraid of an employee of mine. And this is what it has come to. So now I am considering a change of jobs. I am a single mother, and this is not a good time for this to happen. But I feel my employer has belittled my existance by allowing someone to be offensive to me over and over again. If it should come to my resignation, would I have a case?

      My understanding is that the only reasons upper management has kept him on is for fear of being sued for wrongful termination. But I have followed the correct procedures. Our handbook clearly states "Discourtious conduct to customers, co-workers or supervisors"

      Sorry this is so long.

      #2; Fri, 17 Dec 2004 09:33:00 GMT
    • 1. Does the employee have any reason to sue us if we fire him? He came in with a list of 7 steps that we must take before firing him. I don't know what any of that means, but that is what my bosses told me. Something about being an "At will employee". I know that my personal opinion doesn't mean a thing when alligned with the law, but I feel he was rude and offensive to me and that he should be terminated. There are NO LAWS that require an employer to follow progressive disciplinary steps before terminating an employee, much less seven steps. I can only assume this lawyer/bartender is taking advantage of management's lack of knowledge and/or is trying to intimidate them because he has a J.D. (big deal - if he were a decent attorney, he wouldn't need to be moonlighting in a bar.) No, he has no reason to sue if he's fired. That doesn't mean he won't try however.

      2. Since my employers have decided not to terminate him, it has now become a hostile work environment. I am uncomfortable working with this guy. The last time I wrote him up for being rude and offensive to me, it took more then two months before I could speak to him comfortably. I should not have to go to work and feel uncomfortable. I should not have to go to work and not be able to perform my job because I am afraid of an employee of mine. And this is what it has come to. So now I am considering a change of jobs. I am a single mother, and this is not a good time for this to happen. But I feel my employer has belittled my existance by allowing someone to be offensive to me over and over again. If it should come to my resignation, would I have a case? This is not a hostile work environment in the legal meaning of the phrase. The guy is a jerk but that's not against the law. Nor do any laws compel your employer to discipline or terminate him because he's obnoxious and rude. No, you would not have a case against the employer if you elect to resign.

      My understanding is that the only reasons upper management has kept him on is for fear of being sued for wrongful termination. But I have followed the correct procedures. Our handbook clearly states "Discourtious conduct to customers, co-workers or supervisors" Then upper management is being very foolish but that's their perogative.

      My advice remains the same. Speak to the appropriate person(s) in upper management and ask what it's going to take for them to show the guy the door. They're very likely losing customers and about to lose good employees. That's what happens when employees like him are not handled decisively.

      #3; Fri, 17 Dec 2004 09:59:00 GMT
    • Quote:
      === Original Words ===

      What is the name of your state? Michigan

      I am a manager in a restaurant. I made the mistake of hiring a guy to work two days per week as a bartender who is a lawyer for his full-time job. A labor lawyer, no less. I wasn't thinking. Turns out, he isn't the best employee. My company has a handbook. In this handbook, there are A violations, which are offenses that can result in immediate termination. Examples of A violations are theft, coming to work intoxicated, and improper treatment of co-workers, supervisors and guests. B Violations are issues that will require a process before terminating the employee, such as being late for work, poor work performance, etc.

      So this guy I hired is crass. Please note that it takes a lot to offend me, as I work in a bar environment. Back in June this guy was disrespectful to me and called me stupid because he didn't agree with the way I do something. I documented him properly, had upper management sign the documentation, and attached a memo to upper management and for his file explaining that I felt this was grounds for immediate termination. Upper management decided to keep him on. A month ago, we had a guest complain about the rude treatment this guy gave them, and I documented this also, as an A violation. Upper management let it go again. During this employee's performance review, I have a whole section explaining to him that he needs to be more professional at work and follow through with our open-door policy if he is unhappy about a situation instead of taking it out in public. And now here we are, one month later and he offended me again on Saturday night. The cercumstances surrounding the event may or may not be significant and I will elaborate if necessary. Needless to say, the employee yelled at me in front of 3 other line level employees of mine and said "I don't give a f*&k about their tips" when I had questioned him about why he had rung an order in under another server's number. I immediately sent him home. I assumed that this was the final straw and that upper management would not allow this guy to work for us anymore, what.. with the history of his offensive behavior to both myself and guests.

      Turns out that upper management decided to write him up once again, not for the disrespectful treatment of co-workers, but for insubordination, for ringing in the order after I had spacifically told him not to in the beginning of the night.

      And now I have to work with this guy. I keep wondering where upper management will draw the line: does he have to physically assult me before they fire him? I know that many of you who read this are lawyers. Do you think the reason upper management allows this stuff to slide by is because he is a lawyer, and they are afraid of being sued? The offensive employee threatened "see you in arbitration" and has jotted down several times when he had heard me curse and upper management curse. But don't they realize that it is not the cursing that offended me.. it is the way he treated me? It was disrespectful. I would have never ever in a million years spoken like that to my boss. If I did, I am sure I would soon be unemployed.

      So now I have to go to work and "manage" this guy who has been allowed to disrespect and humiliate me not once but twice. I am offended at the way the situation was handled, as if I am not important.... that he is more important to me. I don't ever want to cause any harm to my company and i love my job, but I seriously am considering looking elsewhere. Wouldn't it be ironic when I am the one who has to go elsewhere because I don't want to work with someone who is regularly rude and offensive? Any advice?

      My response:

      Any advice about what?

      Did you have a "legal question" to ask?

      IAAL

      #4; Fri, 17 Dec 2004 01:34:00 GMT