It's difficult to be a manager at any workplace, especially if you're dealing with a disgruntled employee. But what if you did something to upset the employee, how do you respond? And how do you know if you were in the wrong in the first place?
When this customer service manager gets attacked for refusing to spring for a special uniform for a plus sized employee, they take to the popular Reddit forum to ask:
I work as a manager for a customer service department at a large tourist attraction. We have a new employee we’ll call Kate. Employees are required to wear a uniform consisting of a branded polo and whatever work-appropriate slacks people choose to wear. -whistlerblue16
The largest size we currently have in the polo is a 2XL. Kate is a plus sized lady and she requested the largest size available. I gave her the 2XL, and it seemed to fit fine. However, after the first week on the job, she came to my office and said she’d like to talk. She told me she feels the uniform is too “constricting” and the fabric makes her uncomfortable.
She said it was unaccommodating to bigger staff members to only offer a “clingy, form fitting polo.” (The polos are a dri-fit, polyester material.) I let her know that we can order a bigger size for her but it would take 2-3 weeks for the custom ones to come in.
She asked if I could order her a different style of shirt, and I said no because the uniforms need to be consistent. She seemed dissatisfied with this answer but we ended the conversation.
Today I opened my email to receive an email from Kate that can be summarized: “It is disrespectful and discriminatory practice to refuse to accommodate plus size employees.
By not allowing me to wear a uniform I feel comfortable in you have made this an unwelcome and hostile work environment for me. If management is unable to order an appropriate uniform for me I will promptly be leaving this position.”
Kate is otherwise a solid employee and has had no issues with attendance or customer service. Am I the AH by not caving to her demands here?
NTA. You were not disrespectful or discriminatory. You treated her respectfully and offered her an appropriate accommodation. This sounds like a case of an employee throwing around buzz words (discrimination, hostile work environment) to try to bully management into giving in.
Let her leave. Good riddance. But just to CYA, make sure you have documentation that you offered to order a larger shirt. -quacklikeme
An email back saying 'Per our discussion, I am happy to order you a larger polo shirt, which is our required uniform shirt. Please respond to this email with your size and I will be happy to place that order for you asap!' That should do it. Nta. -little_season3410
Exactly. When you find people who like to cobble together a folklore of legalese, they plan to be trouble. -timely_cake_83
CYA - here is important. She is giving off “I want to sue or be a martyr for my cause” vibes. HATE THAT. -drew_p_nuts
She's the AH. And there’s a difference between making necessary, thoughtful accommodations and giving one employee special treatment. She may think it’s more flattering on the thinner coworkers, but how do they feel? Do they want to pick their own style as well? It’s a work uniform. Making it customizable defeats the purpose. -potential-pear-5055