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Policies and Procedures

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


We know that many of our employees are using the Internet for personal matters on company time, and this is strictly against company policy. If we try to enforce the policy, we may lose several employees, and, frankly, they are getting their work done even if they are on the Internet. Is there an upside to all of this?
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I sent a harmless joke on our company e-mail to some of the people who work with me, and several responded by saying how much they liked it. My supervisor's reaction was the exact opposite. She called me in and wrote up a formal reprimand, and then she said that this is a final warning. This sounds unfair to me. What do you think?
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There has been a great deal of theft of basic supplies lately. It is not valuable equipment going out the door, but just a steady stream of everyday items. We think that some of the employees are simply taking things home. What's the best way to get this to stop?
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Our company just put in a new policy on absenteeism and I think it is all wrong. As a manager, how do I handle this? What should I say to the employees when they complain about it, as they surely will.
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I have an employee in my department who doesn't follow company procedures. She ends up creating problems for the rest of the staff. I've discussed the situation with her, but nothing changes. What's her problem and what should I do about it?
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I recently moved an employee from a workstation to an office, and to my great surprise, he put pictures of his dog all over the walls. He had a couple of these photos on his desk in the workstation, but this is way beyond that. I don't want to make a big issue out of this, but some of these need to come down. How should I approach him?
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We have a growing problem of petty theft in many areas of the company. No major items have been stolen, but a lot of smaller items are going out the back door. What suggestions can you offer?
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It is like pulling teeth to get the supervisors in my department to work together. Last week, one of my employees told me that several supervisors who are married are having affairs with each other. I investigated and found the rumors are true. The affairs are happening after hours and on weekends. All of my employees are aware of this, and it is no wonder I cannot get any teamwork going. Can I approach these supervisors and let them know of the problems that are following them to work?
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We have an open work area, and whenever I walk by one particular employee's workstation, he quickly exits whatever web site he is visiting. I don't want to treat him like a baby, but I am concerned about what appears to be going on. What do you suggest?
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Our company has a casual dress code, and each day it seems to be getting even more ridiculous. Several of my female co-workers are wearing attire that is far too revealing. Our manager has not said a word about this. Should I say something?
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I manage a department of professionals and provide them with a good deal of flexibility. If they need time off for personal business, they can take it. There is a problem with one employee who is excellent when she is here, but she misses too much work because she always has personal matters to tend to. How should I deal with her?
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I began a job at a small company a couple of months ago. I was told there was a 6-minute grace period for tardiness, but I was recently counseled for being late 10 times, but I have never been more than 3 minutes late. Now I heard that they hold any tardiness against you. The turnover is high, and since I have been here, 3 people have been fired for "poor work ethic," also known as tardiness. If I am let go, will my "tardiness" hurt me when I apply for another job?
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We have an open work area, and whenever I walk by one particular employee's workstation, he quickly exits whatever web site he is visiting. I don't want to treat him like a baby, but I am concerned about what appears to be going on. What do you suggest?
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Our company has a weird attendance policy that gives incentives to people who do not miss work. The problem is that people are coming to work sick and getting everyone else sick. We have mentioned this to management, but all they seem to care about is the low number of absentees. How can we get this policy changed?
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My one-year review and a raise will be coming soon. Another person was hired a couple of months before me for the same position. His review and raise will be due before mine, but I do my job better than he does his. He has had problems with several projects and was briefly on probation. I will be upset if we both receive the same raise. How can I discuss this with my supervisor without sounding arrogant?
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I am a volunteer for a public citizens' group. One of the rules is a dress code for male members to wear a coat and tie at all formal functions. One of our members began wearing a T-shirt at the formal meetings. Several of our members asked him to uphold our dress code or resign, but he has done neither. His attitude is that he didn't care how it looked or what we thought. Our foreperson wants nothing to do with the problem and ignores it. How can this issue be handled?
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As a matter of policy, we do not hire employees who used to work here. Right now, we are looking at an individual who worked here a few years ago, and then quit. He was a good employee and we were sorry to lose him, but I'm not convinced it's a good idea to rehire employees. What do you think?
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The company where I work had a "no husband and wife policy" until recently. Now we are having many problems with the first married couple in our area. They defend each other, do each other's work, and talk about their relationship incessantly. Many of us have complained to management, but we are told that human resources allows married couples to work in the same area. What do you think?
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How do you deal with an employee who is late almost all the time, but does very good work when she is here? I've tried coaching and discipline, but she just does not improve.
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I work for a large company in the customer relations department, and I receive many complaints from angry customers. Some of the callers become extremely irate and resort to verbal abuse and profanity. Our company policy is to continue the call even if it becomes a personal threat. Failure to adhere to this policy can result in disciplinary action, including termination. What do you suggest?
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We were just given extremely detailed job descriptions from the Human Resources Director. She said that there is too much overlap and confusion of job responsibilities, and this is the way to end it. Most of us feel the new descriptions are too structured, and although we have expressed this to her and to our manager, we feel stuck. What can you suggest?
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I have not been with this company very long, but it is one of the most unorganized businesses I have ever seen. In places where systems and procedures are needed, there are none, and many of the existing systems are long obsolete. My manager tells me that this looseness is by design, adding that chaos can build creativity and agility, and that companies that are too structured are left behind. Am I off base in thinking that this makes no sense?
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When we travel to trade shows for our company, we are expected to share accommodations with other employees of the company. Sometimes these accommodations are coed. Is this proper etiquette for our company to expect the employees to share and what should the guidelines be?
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When we travel to trade shows for our company, we are expected to share accommodations with other employees of the company. Sometimes these accommodations are coed. Is this proper etiquette for our company to expect the employees to share and what should the guidelines be?
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I work in a transportation reservation department. We deal with irate customers only and were told that if a complaint letter is received and our name is mentioned, we would be terminated. Now we are terrified and come to work each day stressed and worried that we could lose our jobs. Does management have the right to address an entire department this way and threaten jobs?
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There are two sets of rules in this company. One set is for the owner's son, and the other set is for the rest of us. He comes in late, leaves early, does practically no work, and walks around like he is our boss. I enjoy my work and the people here, but none of us know what to do about this spoiled brat.
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My boss and I were discussing a difficult long-term employee who supposedly reports to me, but has made a career out of being belligerent and independent. I feel several major errors were made with this person, with the approval of my boss. This employee was converted from hourly to salary, and he now chooses to work minimum hours and leave early. My boss says I can terminate him, but I said, "I don't believe you." How do you set a salaried employee's hours, and, since all of this has damaged my relationship with my boss, how do I repair that?
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Several of us with two weeks of vacation time are annoyed that a new person in our department is starting out with three weeks of vacation. We all have to work here for five years before we get the extra week of vacation. What can we do?
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I've been with this company for almost a year, and now that summer is approaching I want to take my vacation. When I joined, I did not think that much about the amount of vacation time, but now I'm very annoyed that it's only one week. It seems too short. What do you think?
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Our company has a dress code that prohibits so-called revealing attire, but my manager ignores it. However, she just told my clothes violate the policy. When I told her that hers do too, she told me that her attire is not my concern, and she sent me home to change. Should I report this to her manager?
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I have an employee who is late at least three days a week, usually by ten or twenty minutes. I have spoken to him about this on numerous occasions, and he says he will try to improve, and for a week or two he does, but then he's late again. Now when I meet with him, he says the problem is that the company should have a flextime plan. What do you think?
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One of our best hourly employees has been cheating on her timecard. This is a violation of our company policy, and we have terminated employees for this. It would be difficult to replace this person, and since she is a good employee, I would like to give her a warning, but other managers say I should terminate her. Whose side would you take?
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When I hold a meeting, I expect people to pay attention, and I am convinced that when they are sitting there and chewing gum, that does not happen. There is a reason why children are not allowed to chew gum in school, and I think it applies to the place of work. I want to insist that people refrain from chewing gum in my meetings. What do you think?
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Our manager reads a great deal about management and knows a lot about it, but he applies none of it. He is inaccessible, over-controlling, and a poor listener, and he often ignores company procedures. How can we get him to use more of what he knows?
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I brought in a small fishbowl with a goldfish and put it on my desk. My manager told me that it has to go because company policy prohibits pets. I am in complete shock. It's just a tiny bowl with a fish. Should I take it home or stand up for what I think is right?
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I am a department manager in an organization that allows the employees to "dress down" on Fridays. There is no written policy in this area, and many employees are wearing clothes that are inappropriate for work. Lately some of our customers have made comments. How do I deal with this?
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Our company has a policy that says we are not supposed to talk about our pay, but everyone does anyhow. I don't see the point of this policy, and I'm wondering how common it is.
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In our company, people who carpool to work are placed in a monthly drawing for prizes. I ride my bike to work, but the human resources manager who runs the program says that I cannot be in the drawing because I am not in a carpool. Does this sound fair to you?
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I manage a branch in an area where it is very difficult to find job applicants. Since my employees are so hard to replace, I have been reluctant to discipline them for relatively minor infractions. Is this type of flexibility appropriate under the circumstances?
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Top management in our company frequently tells us how available they are, and they place major importance on their open door policy. I went to senior management for a particular problem, and my boss blew up at me for doing this. Did I do something wrong?
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I just joined this company and learned that I have to wear a badge with my photo on it. This is not a hospital or a top-secret organization, and I resent having to walk around with this thing hanging from my pocket. I'm in management, and I think this badge makes me look like a gopher. I tried not wearing it, and my manager was not pleased. Is there a way around this?
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One of my fellow employees comes to work when she is sick. Although she claims that she just has allergies, it is not long before I catch her so-called allergies and end up missing work. I don't want to catch her colds any more. What's the best way to deal with her?
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We hired a new employee, and on her third day she copied a personal hundred page document on our copier. When I asked her about it, she said it is a book she is writing, and her previous employer did not mind if employees use the copiers for personal business. When I told her it is not permitted here, she said she will follow the rule, but it is ridiculous. She has some valuable skills, and I'm wondering how to deal with her.
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I work for a national footwear chain in one of their stores. I am a top salesman, a Jewish male, and my regional manager refers to me with an anti-Semitic term. He also uses racial slurs to describe an African-American woman in our corporate office. I emailed a letter to Human Resources, and they called other witnesses and spoke to the regional manager. He admitted to the slurs, but nothing was done after that. Now I have to work with this manager, and I feel like a fool. What should I do now?
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I am five to ten minutes late to work just about every day. My manager gives me infinite grief over this and says I am not following company policy, but she overlooks the fact that I am a good worker. I try to get to work on time, but itís difficult. How can I get her to stop obsessing on this and look at the big picture?
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I work in a company with about 150 employees, and one of my supervisors sent an email to all employees asking that we contribute to an overseas charity that is important to him. While the charity sounds like it is doing good things, several of us were put off by his approach. Since the request came from a supervisor, Iím not sure what I should do.
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I emailed an ethnic joke to a fellow employee. He thought it was funny and then forwarded it around. Somehow, it got to our supervisor who disciplined my friend and me. Since I did not send the joke to anyone who would be offended, I donít think I should have been disciplined. What do you think?
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I like stuffed toy rabbits, and I have several in my cubicle. My manager recently told me that some of them have to go, but I donít think this is fair. Our company policy says it is okay to personalize our work areas as long as we use good business sense. How can I convince my manager that my rabbits are not a problem?
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Our department manager was promoted, and the company replaced her with someone from the outside. At first, the new manager said we have an excellent department, and she would not be making any changes. That lasted for about a week. Now she has changed our assignments, moved us around, and put in new policies that donít make sense. What can we do?
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Our company has a dress code requiring all employees to dress ďbusiness casual.Ē The policy says nothing else. When I wore a top that revealed my midriff, my manager said not to wear it again because it is not business casual. If the policy is for employees to refrain from wearing this type of apparel, it should say so. Please advise.
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I sent a link to a website with a funny visual joke to one of my co-workers. He thought it was hysterical and forwarded it to about 20 other people here. When my manager got wind of this, he reprimanded both of us for violating company policy on using company computers. I only sent it to one person, and my co-worker sent it all over the place, so he is the one who abused the system, not me. What do you think?
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My manager told me that if I expect to be promoted, I should take some supervisory classes. My complaint is that the company is not willing to pay for these classes, and I think it is kind of hypocritical to place this expectation on me. What do you think of this policy?
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I gave one of my better employees a very substantial raise last year, and her pay is now above average for the industry and at the top of the grade for her job in our company. I gave her a modest raise this year, and she is dissatisfied with it and wants more. Our company policy will not allow such an increase, and her position does not warrant it. How should I deal with her?
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Our company has a vague dress code. It has no listing of inappropriate apparel, but only a statement that attire is supposed to be casual yet appropriate for business. I have been told twice that my clothing is not appropriate, but I thought it was okay. If there are certain items that the company does not want the employees to wear, why not spell them out in the dress code policy?
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A year ago, one of our better employees quit, and now she wants to come back. We don't have a policy on this, and my belief is that if people quit, they are likely to do so again. I would prefer to take my chances on someone who truly wants a job here. Some of the other managers disagree with me. We have an open position that suits this employee's skills. What do you think?
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