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Post Info TOPIC: Hostile Work Environment


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Hostile Work Environment
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I've been debating whether or not to post this for about a week now.  I've viewed this board as not only a source of very good information regarding things that haven't reached our region yet, but as a place to share input and help other employees.  I also include nocturnia even though he is with Wal-Mart in that. biggrin

I'm more concerned that somebody could be reading this that I don't want to see, so I will likely be as vague as possible in describing some of this.  I've been careful to not reveal what region I am in, and definitely refrain from naming names.  Anybody on here who is doing that, you really need to watch your back.

The store I work at pretty much runs itself.  For the most part, everybody gets along.  The least senior department head has about 20 years and the people running the departments all have a pretty reasonable idea of what they are doing.  Our store is a reason why Key Retailing does not need to be implemented in certain stores.  We have people there who understand it's "Just a grocery store". 

We received our new manager back in February.  Our previous manager had retired and was more of a micromanager when it came to management style.  The new manager is younger and considerably laid back. 

So where is the problem?  One employee, who is a department head, was recently promoted late last fall after a drastic shakeup regarding several job bids.  This person  is one of the most vindictive and mean-spirited people in the store.  What makes it worse is that this dept head is pretty much a "pet" for the new manager.

Back in February I believe I was supposed to work in a different department.  I received a phone call with the following message "I know you're listening to this, you're scheduled to work at 3-8, come in at 11:30".  I made an unfortunate mistake of deleting the voicemail and it was on my cell phone.  Needless to say, I just ignored it and showed up at 3:00.  I had to go upstairs to print something off and this department head looked at the manager and said "See, this is the employee I told you about who was on Facebook and wouldn't come into work".  Later on in the week, I was upstairs to talk to the manager about something unrelated when another senior employee started laying out this department head.  I mentioned the voicemail incident and watched the managers mouth drop.  I was told that the next time this happened to save it so the manager could hear it.

Fast forward to this past Sunday morning.  I was in church with my fiancee from 9:30-11:00.  Once church was over, I checked my phone and had two new voicemails.  The first voicemail was somebody from the service desk asking on behalf of another dept head if I would come in early to work there.  The second was the vindictive dept head (VDH) who said "Since you didn't answer the first time or bother calling back, don't bother coming in early, knothead".  I didn't make the same mistake twice, I saved it.

I had to be at work later that afternoon, so I played the voicemail for one of the shop stewards.  Our store manager was off, but the co-manager was there.  I played the voicemail for the co-manager whose response was "Would you like to file harrassment charges?"  I told him that I was considering calling human resources over it but that I would like to speak with the manager first to let them know (since he/she said they wanted to hear it).  If anything, it's also CYA, since I didn't want to deal with potential retailiation from this manager.  One of my friends who is also another shop steward said to bypass everybody and go straight to HR with it.  The co tells me that in his eyes it was harrassment and that he would never talk to somebody that way.

Next day, I am called upstairs and the co-manager had left an email for the manager.  The manager asked VDH about the voicemail and her working relationship with me.  VDH says that they were joking around and was shocked because we had such a great relationship.  I play the voicemail and ask the manager her thoughts, to which is said "Well, yes and no, yes in that it was nasty at first, but then calls me a "knothead" affectionately".  I face VDH and ask if this was a joke, because it didn't seem that way over the phone and she has a panicked look on her face and says yes.  I decided to just end it and patch things up.

To give some more background, other employees have been coming out and taking their problems to this manager regarding VDH and it has reached a point that the shop stewards have been asking around.  The union rep that I played the voicemail to on Sunday told me later that day that he talked to VDH about two other senior employees who convinced another employee to talk to the manager about her problems with VDH.  VDH told the shop steward that she would get even with them, but do it legally. 

The past couple of days, the phone number that thedude posted I obtained from this site and sent to the shop stewards and it is now posted on the wall in the department where I work in.  Anyone who has a legitimate complaint against VDH is being encouraged to call.  Our union rep has been contacted and told us that the hotline is the best way to get it handled.

I apologize for such a rambling post (at least it seems that way to me).  As of right now, I am not doing anything in terms of calling since the manager smoothed it over.  However, the voicemail is saved, and the next time it happens, I will be turning it in to Human Resources.

I will try to post updates depending on how this plays out.



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"The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of The Kroger Co. family of stores."


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well drew thats a very interesting situation and is apparently so common in the workforce huh.  she doesnt look to be the "sharpest crayon in the box" and it looks like you pretty much put her in check-mate over the matter.  who knows - maybe she was being somewhat jockular but she obviously does not have that sort of relationship with you to do so.

has she come up to you one - on - one and given a heartfelt appology yet?  that is a sign of true character.  i seriously doubt that she will be as foolish to do that sort of thing again and i am sure she has learned a life-long lesson out of it.

i am curious to hear about calling the HelpLine and what they say they will do.  i would suspect that they insure resolution w/in a very quick timeframe.



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I am no longer part of the oppressed, evil workforce of Kroger!  Can you say "Hallelujah"  



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wow, that's just weird if it's a joke... What kind of joke is that? It's not overly hilarious... Yeah I think you did the right thing.

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I would have came to work, picked up the phone, hit the PAGE button and played it for the whole store to hear. Then I would have asked for any employee who received such messages from the vindictive b*tch to come to the managers office. But hey, that's just me.

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Oboro718 wrote:

I would have came to work, picked up the phone, hit the PAGE button and played it for the whole store to hear. Then I would have asked for any employee who received such messages from the vindictive b*tch to come to the managers office. But hey, that's just me.


 That actually sounds like a pretty good idea.  I have a new voicemail app for my phone (Android) called YouMail, which is a visual voicemail similar to email.  The only problem is that you have to hold it up to your ear to be able to hear it just on SPEAKER.  I doubt it would carry throughout the store. smile

Anyways, I doubt I will receive a "heartfelt apology".  If anything, I am waiting on the knife to come plunging into my back.  I'm just hoping she does something stupid enough that I could take it to corporate and there is no questioning it.

As I told my friend who is a shop steward, I could have called the number without talking to the manager and brought a full investigation in.  The witnesses that I could have named would have sung like canaries and she would have likely been out of a job.  That's fine, except I am not a vindictive person.  I don't enjoy stabbing people in the back or throwing people under the bus.  I didn't want it on my conscience that I cost somebody their job, their pension, and their benefits.  What I do want however, is to see this person's wings clipped and possibly for them to step down from their position.

Some of the people I work with I have mentioned the phone number to in order to pass the word around that if something happens that is serious enough that it is reported. 

One thing I will pass along, if you have any employee on employee issues, don't waste your time calling your union rep.  They will tell you to deal with Kroger HR over the matter.  If it's management, you could likely get both involved since the UFCW views getting rid of management as a feather in their cap.  After all, why would they want to get rid of somebody who is paying their salary by working for Kroger?



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"The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of The Kroger Co. family of stores."


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Here's my story........

A couple of years ago I had a pretty serious issue with a co worker from over nights. We covered the same department, just on different shifts. Now, this is a man I've known and had been friends with for many years, so when he started giving me a stinky attitude, and word got back that he was seriously running his mouth about my work in our shared dept., I was knocked back a few steps.

What I should have done right away was to confront him--tactfully---about the matter, what ever 'it' was. As things in real life don't jibe with woulda/coulda/shoulda, tho, I let loose with some quips of my own that got back to him. Any way, it came down to a handfull of other employees telling me that this guy was basically threatening my life. So I stopped the show right then, sought out a co manager, took my witnesses with me, and had a pow-wow with the manager. It put a stop to the drama, things smoothed out.....and this other guy and I actually get along ok now.

So here's the thing: To this day I hate that I had to 'rat out' somebody; as I said, I should have gone to the guy myself. But things escalated so fast that a school yard shout-down quickly turned into a potentially ugly---maybe even fatal--situation. So-----was I wrong for having handled it the way I did, getting management in on it? NO. Because I've seen what happens to pissed, ready to fight employees without intervention.....one or both get fired. And management always admonishes the same thing: 'DON'T take work place conflict into your own hands.'

Yeah.....we coulda scrapped. At the time it was very tempting. But, all this time later, we're both still working, getting our pay checks, taking care of our families....and the stupid grade school drama is everything but forgotten.

If you are having a serious conflict with any co worker, take it to management. Intervening on the company's, store's and your behalf is part of their job~

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Update:

I have not had any problems with VDH since this incident.  She has been good as gold ever since.  I did find out today that our union rep visited the store while shopping on Sunday and told one of the employees that she threatened to get even with to sit back and watch because "the **** was about ready to hit the fan".

The person who this was told to has a tendency of blowing things out of proportion, so I'm kinda to the point of believing it when the investigator shows up from corporate.  Whether or not somebody else decided to report her for something else, who knows.



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"The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of The Kroger Co. family of stores."
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