update: my employees refuse to call their coworker by her real name


Remember the letter-writer who managed a group of people who refused to to call one staff member by her real name, instead insisting on calling her a westernized version of her name that she dislikes? Here’s the update.

After the initial resistance, being firm had an almost immediate positive effect, with most of the team buckling under with a firmer approach. While there were some attempts to backslide on this, my staff member was more empowered to be assertive and it died down.

For a while.

And here is where it gets fun. Staff member’s birthday rolls around and the card is being passed around. It hits my desk and of course… about half of the people who had already signed had written the nickname. Results ranged from “it’s too hard to spell” (it’s seven letters) to “oops, I forgot,” to “she said it was okay if I call her that.” (You guessed it, she didn’t.)

Back to square one, only now with some more support from the new supervisor I mentioned, we added some posters from the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Human Rights Commission to the Workplace Health and Safety notice board, which I helpfully pointed out while having the same conversations I’d started with. We now have a new workplace diversity policy which can be pulled out as part of disciplinary action which makes the lines on this clearer.

Bingo. Round two to common sense.

A few of the commenters questioned me mentioning that she was a junior member of staff as well. They might be pleased to know that she’s in the process of moving to a new position on a more administrative side of things. Promotion is slow in our branch of teapot production but it’s always a possibility.

update: my employees refuse to call their coworker by her real name was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.


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November 29, 2016 at 05:05AM