Workplace personality conflicts are everywhere—does this scene sound familiar? Haley greets Mike first thing in the morning as they pass in the hallway, and never gets back a “good morning,” “hi,” or even a grunt in return. Mike swears he doesn’t see her when they pass each other, and you believe him. He’s a task-focused guided missile, and a great guy, but he bruises Haley’s feelings without meaning to. Gwen poses even… Read More

Question: My immediate supervisor, “Alex,” is nasty, narcissistic and treats all employees like scum. He screams at, threatens and lies to us. Our department loses a good employee every month, so we have a revolving door of new employees. There are only two of us who’ve been here for more than 15 months. Other employees and I have gone to human resources to complain without receiving help. The problem — Alex is… Read More

Question: As the only person of color in my workplace, it’s been increasingly uncomfortable since the Keith Scott killing in Charlotte. With some of the prior situations, like when George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, we all found ourselves on the same side. Everyone thought Zimmerman was a jerk. Something’s changed in the past couple of months. When I walk into the break room now, I hear my coworkers talking about what’s going… Read More

Question: I am an Admin. Manager that oversees two departments — one of which is Accounts Payable. In July I received a statement showing we owed $150 for an invoice in February 2014. It was for parts that were originally on back order which delayed processing for payment. It was our error that we didn’t copy the PO for our back order file.  If we had, I would have tracked the invoice… Read More

Question:  I work for a small company in rural Alaska. We live on-site and a distance from the nearest community. Although more than 20 of us work here in the summer, only three of us stay here in the winter. My two coworkers are a couple. Yesterday after dinner, I overheard “Jane” sobbing. When I asked her if she was OK, she said, “Mike just beat the s— out of me.” She looked horrible…. Read More

Question: We recently hired a manager who turned out to be a total disappointment. He completely fooled all three of us when he interviewed; he said all the right things, but once hired, didn’t produce. Based on his great interview and the fact that he submitted glowing letters of reference, we made a huge mistake; we didn’t call his references. We also didn’t pull the plug on him right away. We kept… Read More

Question: As we’re not large enough to have a human resources manager, our office manager handles HR paperwork. She’s “hard line” and says we need to overhaul our personnel policies because the current ones allow too much variance in how each manager handles problems. She insists we need to implement strict zero-tolerance policies related to drug abuse, workplace violence and guns in the workplace, all areas in which we’ve had recent problems…. Read More

Question: After an investigation, we fired one of our employees for threatening and stalking two co-workers. He’s now demanding a positive letter of reference, which I’m writing. I earlier tried to appease him with an innocuous letter giving simply the dates on which he’d worked here along with what his job duties were.  He refused to accept this, and frankly he scares me. Can you give me any pointers for writing a… Read More

Question: I made a serious mistake, permanently damaging relationships with my boss and coworkers when I lied and almost lost my professional license. I’m on probation and can’t work in my chosen profession for a year. What’s worse is that the verdict against me now sits on my permanent public record, meaning that anyone who looks into me professionally will see it. My only chance for career salvation seems to be to… Read More

Question: My co-worker and I both head to the Alaska Club after work. Since both of us use the elliptical and stair climber and like to work out in the Woman’s Club, I often wind up getting on equipment she uses first. We’re supposed to wipe down the equipment after we use it. She never does, and thus if the machine she leaves is the only one available when I want to… Read More