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Franke James is Editor/Founder of Office-Politics.com and Inventor of the Office-Politics® Game.
Peter R. Garber has worked as an HR professional for over 25 years and is the author of many business books including: Winning the Rat Race at Work and 100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of your Boss.
Dina Beach Lynch, is an Ombudsman, Author and former attorney. An award-winning mediator, Dina served as the Corporate Ombudsman for the 7th largest bank in the US helping over 48,000 employees to resolve workplace issues.
Dr. Rick Brandon is CEO of Brandon Partners. He has consulted and trained tens of thousands at corporations worldwide, including Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries.
Dr. Marty Seldman is one of America's most experienced executive coaches. His 35-year career includes expertise in executive coaching, group dynamics, cross-cultural studies, clinical psychology, and training.
Arnie Herz, is a lawyer, mediator, speaker, author and consultant nationally recognized for his practical and inspired approach to conflict resolution and client counseling.
Dr. John Burton LL.B. M.B.A. M.Div. Ph.D. is an ethicist, mediator, lawyer and theologian. John is currently located in Prince Rupert, B.C., Canada, working with Canada's aboriginal communities.
I find myself becoming the target of office management because everyone has become so complacent that they don't speak up, and their work is sloppy at best, which directly affects my shift...
I am primarily a night auditor and work 11pm-7am, 90% of the time (6 days a week alone with no other staff on), but I like to help out and work afternoon shifts when no one else can cover. It also gives me a chance to see the other staff face to face in case I forget what they look like.
The only line of communication in our workplace is a beat-up log book that is often disregarded and frequently has pages removed from it, if it implicates an employee who has made an error. We are told to not put such entries in the book because the owner of the hotel can read the log at anytime and our GM doesn't want him to see what problems we are having and who is creating them.
Our GM constantly inflates our numbers and instructs the front desk staff to do so as well, so she can look better in the eyes of the owner. I find this to be ethically immoral. I am a firm advocate of brutal honesty, especially in the business world; if we can't be honest, specifically to our superiors for fear of reprimand nothing will ever get better and you will get caught in a web of deceit.
So that's two problems:
During our shifts we receive no official lunch breaks or coffee breaks, which are required by law, and many of the employees receive only the minimum 8 hours in between shifts e.g. working 7am-3pm then 11pm-7am in the same day. The General Manager and accountant don't inform employees of their rights to medical benefits, and will maybe discuss them (reluctantly) if the employee approaches them; and quite frequently when approaching our General Manager about serious but uncomfortable situations she will lock herself in her office and refuse to talk to anyone, which has happened on numerous occasions.
3) No breaks
Also I've had troubles with the accountant because I come in "too early"? I like to come in 30 minutes early to do a proper shift change so the person I'm relieving can go home at exactly the time they're supposed to. Also if I stay late, if the hotel is too busy to leave in the hands of one person I won't get paid if I stay an extra 15 minutes to give a hand?It?s not about the money but fair is fair.
These issues are only the tip of the ice-berg, and it is a real shame because when I'm not thinking about these things at work it is a blast, working at a hotel in a major tourist hub is a lot of fun because of all the different people you get to meet and it is easy work because when you are helping people who are nice to you so it doesn't feel like work.
Being that I have not been in this field very long I find myself in an awkward position, whereas everyone knows I'm fairly new, but I also feel that if my work has been good enough for them it shouldn't matter how long I've been in the business before it is considered acceptable for me to voice my concerns; mainly the resentment everyone has towards the other employees and management due to the apparent lack of reciprocation between employee and management. Long story short I find myself becoming the target of office management because everyone else has become so complacent that they don't speak up and their work is sloppy at best, which directly affects my shift, seeing as I deal with ten's of thousands of dollars every day.
I'm wondering what the most advantageous way to approach these problems
are, seeing as there hasn't been a staff meeting in 5 years. How do
I make life at work better or is this hotel a lost cause?
Dear Long-winded Auditor,
The good news is that you know what you need from your employer -- appreciation, rapport, respect, honesty and fairness. You also know that you want human interaction -- with your co-workers and with the hotel guests. You are not a person who wants to toil away in anonymity by yourself in a back office somewhere.
As you understand very well, your current situation is not meeting your needs. Part of the problem is the job and part of it is the employer.
Clearly, to change the entrenched management culture would take, at best, a huge effort on your part. You are probably correct in indicating that it would be a loosing battle. But even if successful, is this a battle that is the best use of your time, energy and talents? Are there not other options available to you that better meet your needs?
If you need to keep the job because of financial reasons and a lack of other options, then coming up with a strategy to make the best of the situation and improve it somewhat would be wise. But if you have other employment options, then I would immediately begin to explore those options. Of course, explore the options in a way that does not risk your current job.
You seem like a smart person. My bet is that you should be able to find a better fit for your needs and get out of this bad situation. If you cannot find a better fit, write back and we can explore plan B -- making changes in the current work environment that make work more tolerable.
Finally, you raised a number of legal issues regarding overtime pay, benefits, hours worked and so on. If you wish to explore these issues, I recommend that you consult with a California employment attorney or the California Department of Labor.
Good luck on your job search. Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.
Arnie Herz, Esq.
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The Ethics Letters that appears as a feature of this Website is an educational and discussion oriented column designed to help the reader better understand ethical issues. The matters discussed in the letter are reviewed in a summary/abbreviated way and are only meant to foster thinking on the part of the reader. If a person decides to adopt or implement suggestions, they do so at their own risk. No representation or warranty is provided in relation to suggestions or the contents of the letter. Neither the authors of the letter, Franke James, John W. Burton, Rick Brandon, Marty Seldman, Arnie Herz or the owners of this Website accept any liability whatsoever for any opinions expressed in the letter or for errors and omissions. Submission of letters to the Office-Politics Forum grants the Publisher, Nerdheaven Ltd. the right to reproduce, republish, repurpose and excerpt the submission in any and all other media, without compensation or contacting the author. Copyright Nerdheaven Ltd. 2002-2005