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Fairness Favoritism Family Business Assertiveness Communication Who's In Charge?

I work in a small office environment. My current boss is related to the part time worker who is her sister-in-law. Her sister-in-law is a part time worker who doesn't have to work holidays or weekends as I and the other full timer have to do. She is supposed to be a "Fill in" when one of us full timers can't make it to work, but the manager will work the hours for her instead, when this is not the company plan. For some reason, the manager is very loyal to this relation she works with, and that is why in the past the former company before the merger kept them apart. It may seem petty, but I am tired of this woman getting away with murder and feeling she can take off at the drop of a hat, while I have to account for every minute. I would think that full timers would get more consideration. Confronting her about the problem has done no good. She gets upset and says we're stressing her out. She hates the idea of being firm and fair with her in-law. Should I go to HR?

You made the right move by discussing this matter with your boss. However, if you simply complained about her favoritism toward her sister-in-law, itís not surprising that she reacted negatively. Rather than complaining, youíre likely to get further by letting your boss see how she can come out ahead by using a more equitable leadership approach. The idea is to help her understand that increased fairness can actually increase employee motivation, morale, and productivity, all of which will benefit her as well as the company.

At the same time, the more fundamental question is why your organization would allow an employee to report to a relative. Companies today typically have policies that prevent this type of reporting relationship, and the main reason is to avoid the exact situation that you are currently experiencing.

If you find that your boss continues to reject your attempts at introducing more equity into the scheduling system, you and a few of your fellow employees should indeed meet with the HR representative. In such a meeting, you should spell out the facts, and then stop talking and listen to the HR representativeís reply. His or her response will let you know if such preferential treatment is somehow preferred in your company.

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