Today’s letter is from Ask a Manager:
I am the director of operations for our practice. I have a daughter who is one of our employees, and I am her manager. She has a seven-month old baby and works part-time from home for our publicly traded company, doing administrative work.
She brought her baby to work recently while she ran by to get some supplies and send an email. A coworker – unbeknownst to us – took a picture of my daughter’s baby playing on the floor at work during this short time and sent it to the HR director at corporate – telling HR that my daughter was bringing her baby to work in the office and that she was afraid to say anything because she feared retribution.
First of all, this was completely untrue – she works from home and does not work in the office. Secondly, no one here has ever experienced retribution. The HR director would not tell me who sent the picture and told this story.
I am concerned on two levels – first of all, what gives this employee any right to take pictures of another coworker’s child and share them with anyone? Is there recourse here? Secondly, without know who has done this, my level of trust for all of our employees has been diminished, as I must now suspect all five of the people in this particular office location of having done such a petty thing. Where are my rights to access of this information?
Dear concerned mother… I mean manager,
You are right. No person has a right to take a picture of anything to provide evidence for their account of events. Even more so if they are complaining about their boss’ kin. There is no chance that the boss would dismiss this complaint without evidence, so taking a picture was wildly inappropriate. As we can see from your completely unbiased letter, your employee was definitely wrong to take a picture of what was happening. They should know that you’re going to dismiss their complaint with or without the picture.
Next you asked if there is recourse here. Obviously, the answer is yes. This recourse is totally different from the retribution that the employee feared unreasonably. Totally different because recourse has 5 letters and retribution has 11. Totally different. Retribution would be unfair. Recourse is fair. Their complaint warrants firing. And since you don’t know who made the complaint, you should just fire all 5 of the employees. Then, since you’ve got vacancies, you should promote your daughter to fill these positions. Or any other family members. Maybe even get this 6-month old on the payroll.
Unfortunately, stupid laws protect employees from retribution for HR complaints. Since you are looking for recourse, not retribution, this should be fair. I would explain to HR that I have no intentions of doing something so scary as retribution and that I merely want to know who made the complaint so that I can be overly critical of everything they do, give them poor performance reviews, and eventually fire them. I’m sure HR will be okay with that.
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