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Employee Hit Me, Manager Won't Do Anything

Employee Hit Me, Manager Won't Do Anything

Alison Green l Ask A Manager

May 17, 2010

A reader writes:

I work as a supervisor in a call center-like environment. Technically I am a low level manager, but I am essentially powerless. My job is to keep work flowing to our operators consistently from our various sites and be the communication hub between our sites, keyers, my superiors and our outsourcing company. I am supposed to be listened to, but if I am not the only thing I can do is go to my immediate superior, who then goes to his immediate superior, who is the first one with “manager” anywhere in his actual title. I am basically powerless unless I can convince those above me with actual power to act, and those above me dislike confrontation.

The other day, one of my employees was doing some work for another department. That department’s supervisor came over and asked her to stop keying the work for a minute while she explained the plan for the day. The employee answered “No.” This exchange repeated, and then I stepped in. I told my employee, again, to stop keying. She said “No.” I decided this was enough and pushed the “ESC” key to exit the program. While I was stepping back, this employee grabbed my wrist and slapped my hand, and told me to “never touch my keyboard again.” I told her that I would not have to as long as she listened to me when I gave her instructions. She again said “No.”

After stewing in my seat for a few minutes, I went and reported the entire situation to my supervisor who reported it to his manager. This manager talked to a couple people who witnessed the incident and then spoke to HR. The next day I was asked by the employee this whole thing started with, “Are we gonna have a good day today?” As far as I’m concerned, this whole thing reeks of insubordination, something we were specifically told to report by the higher ups.

Anyway, the situation was “resolved” by having the employee sign a letter that was put into her permanent file. As far as I know, this particular employee has many letters in there already, and I do not feel it is getting the message across. Anytime I have spoken to the manager who handled this, I have been told the issue is closed. I do not feel that this is a satisfactory resolution, and have been advised to speak with HR directly, and at least try for an apology from the employee. Do you think it’s worth the effort, or am I just going to get shut down again? I don’t really think I want to work in a place where coworkers can strike each other in anger and not be dealt with in a meaningful way.

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