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Old 04-27-2007, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Twin Cities
3,570 posts, read 8,191,084 times
Reputation: 6030

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I need your input on something that happened yesterday at work. For the past few weeks we've all known about a co-worker who is leaving the company. I work for a small company that is less than 100 people. This co-worker sent out a mass email to many employees and managers telling everyone to "Come get Shi**y with her" going out to a local sports bar to get drunk. And then when everyone's had there fill there we'll head to another area of town and continue to drinking.

My cube-mate and I were discussing this and felt it was inappropriate to send off to the masses, and using work email considering there was foul language and basically it's "let's all get drunk together, drive drunk across town and have more alcohol."

I really like this girl and am excited for her new opportunity, but feel this is beyond business professional. I went and talked to our HR person and told her the story...plus I had tried to forward the email to my wife and my companies spam filter blocked my message for foul language. I brought this to the attention of HR and asked "why is it appropriate to send something like this internally, but externally the spam filter will not allow it?" I did make sure HR knew I was not trying to get anyone in trouble, I just believe a process should be set in place that says foul language and things like this email are inappropriate for business work. If you want to plan this type of event it's okay, but not to be so graphic in the email.

I'm not sure if I was out of bounds by bringing this to HR's attention. This type of lifestyle behavior is very accepted and the owner goes out and gets drunk with everyone too from time to time. And because it's a small company I'm now feeling like maybe I should've just stayed quiet. What should I do if I'm approached by HR and senior management about this issue? I plan on standing firm on my feelings, but not sure how I should verbalize it if I'm asked.
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Old 04-27-2007, 07:01 AM
 
Location: long island,new york
536 posts, read 1,126,649 times
Reputation: 634
well i think personally u shouldnt have said anything to to HR, especially if she is leaving the company as u said. im sure if the management were not pleased with it something would have been done between them and her.

If you're approached about it i would just say that maybe u overreacted on it and you were just worried that something bad might happen and were just concerned

p.s im not saying that driving drunk around town from bar to bar is overreacting, but there are other ways to go bar hopping like taking cab, or maybe just walk if you're in an area with lots of bars
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Old 04-27-2007, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Finally made it to Florida and lovin' every minute!
22,677 posts, read 17,742,275 times
Reputation: 17566
I can understand your discomfort with the situation, but have to agree that, since she's leaving, saying nothing might have been the better path. After all, what can TPTB do at this point? But it does underline your concern for your co-workers. How did HR react to your concerns?
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Old 04-27-2007, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,440 posts, read 70,502,896 times
Reputation: 17158
Better yet, why is "bar-hopping" the ONLY way that people seem to socialize, or even gain acceptance in this country? I'm about to turn 21 myself, yet I'd be much happier to throw myself a "send-off party" at Nay Aug Park with a family-style potluck picnic at the gazebo attended by my co-workers before bidding them adieu for a new opportunity. I wouldn't want to leave my old friends with a final impression of me throwing up on the sidewalk or being pulled over for a DUI.

Unfortunately, my "anti-binge drinking" mindset has also labeled me as an outcast. I'm just finishing my second year at a local university, and I have yet to be invited to even one party, even though I go out of my way to extend olive branches to others. My father often goes out drinking for hours sometimes with his co-workers to gain their acceptance as well, and he drives from bar to bar as well, much to my mother's (and my) chagrin.

If I were in your position I would have kept quiet though. You need to realize that many Americans are stupid and will prioritize alcoholism and getting "sh*t-faced" over behaving in a civilized manner. I've seen what binge drinking can do to some of my own friends and relatives, and this is why I've opted to never take up drinking. When was the last time a co-worker had a "send-off" by inviting co-workers and their families along to a minor-league baseball game tailgating party with hot dogs, hamburgers, and games? When was the last time co-workers "relaxed" after work on a Friday night by heading out together to the local performing arts center to see an off-Broadway show or mellowed out at a jazz cafe or a coffee house? I happen to live in a major metropolitan area where nearly everyone is an alcoholic, and I'm MORTIFIED when I even hear people, including police officers, brushing off underage drinking offenses as being "not a big deal!" All I can say is that the moment a drunk driver rams my vehicle and injures myself, my life partner, or one of my future adopted children, they'll be sued so badly that they'll be living on the streets, where they'll have PLENTY of time to think about their destructive decision to "enjoy themselves" as I splash them with water from my passing BMW that was paid for due to their incompetence!

I'm so tired of feeling like a minority and an outcast all the time when saying "No thanks" when offered a drink. Since when did it become "taboo" for a 20-year-old to adhere to the law? If you all see no problem in breaking the law in order for a teenager to "kick back and enjoy a cold one," then how would you like it if I broke the law to get married to my life partner? If we're picking and choosing which laws to enforce and/or adhere to, then fair is fair, right? I've witnessed too many grieving families and battered spouses for ANYONE to convince me of any positive benefits associated with binge drinking. You know what I do to unwind after a rough shift? I close my eyes in the therapeutic hot shower and play some soothing Enya music. Just think of what you could do for your families with all of the money you save from not buying the liquor as well!

I'm sorry to get preachy, but why on Earth do people speak negatively about people such as myself for WANTING to remain sober? Why is that such a crime in this country?
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Old 04-27-2007, 08:11 AM
 
Location: long island,new york
536 posts, read 1,126,649 times
Reputation: 634
we need more sober ppl , it gives us more designated drivers lol
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Old 04-27-2007, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Twin Cities
3,570 posts, read 8,191,084 times
Reputation: 6030
The thing is, it's not about the drinking. If they want to do that, I don't have a problem with that. My deal is regarding email broadcasts to a huge group of people and the inappropriate language. If they choose to drink that's their decision, but I also don't believe work email should be used for that. My opinion only.

I brought this to HR not to get her in trouble...but to show that this is happening with others too. And to simply ask if something can be done without calling out someone. Set a process in place that says no foul language etc. in work emails. It's okay to invite people out, but be respectful of the differences in your co-workers. We are all very diverse and not everyone does the same activities.

And HR's response was an awkward laugh. I caught her as she was heading to a meeting. I showed her and she was surprised she wasn't included in on the email. I'm not sure anything will even happen. It's very different working for a small company than a large one.
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Old 04-27-2007, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,440 posts, read 70,502,896 times
Reputation: 17158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoosier_guy View Post
The thing is, it's not about the drinking. If they want to do that, I don't have a problem with that. My deal is regarding email broadcasts to a huge group of people and the inappropriate language. If they choose to drink that's their decision, but I also don't believe work email should be used for that. My opinion only.

I brought this to HR not to get her in trouble...but to show that this is happening with others too. And to simply ask if something can be done without calling out someone. Set a process in place that says no foul language etc. in work emails. It's okay to invite people out, but be respectful of the differences in your co-workers. We are all very diverse and not everyone does the same activities.

And HR's response was an awkward laugh. I caught her as she was heading to a meeting. I showed her and she was surprised she wasn't included in on the email. I'm not sure anything will even happen. It's very different working for a small company than a large one.

It is about the drinking though. Alcoholism has become such an "accepted" social norm in our nation now that it is quite difficult for most people to take people who are not interested in boozing seriously with thier discomforts on the issue, even in a workplace environment, which is supposed to be more "professional." In smaller companies it is quite common for people to put their social lives ahead of their moral priorities, and the sad part is the fact that someone like you would get passed over for a promotion for expressing your concerns while someone like your HR manager, who thought the whole thing was a "joke", would rise up the ladder due to her alcohol-induced social connections. Why is alcohol always a part of social networking? If you want to get ahead in corporate America, you better be willing to sit down and slam down a couple of cold ones with your boss, right?

I'm not trying to be judgmental about people who drink---I'm just judgmental against those who are judgmental against me for not drinking. Why should I miss out on college parties, job promotions, social functions, etc. just because people think I have "cooties" for not wanting to partake in such behaviors? I refuse to lower my standards to "fit in", even if it will inevitably hurt me in my professional pursuits in the long-run.

By the way, I'm not surprised by your HR manager's reaction. It seems like most HR people in this nation tend to be poorly-trained and/or poorly-educated on dealing with employee tensions (which is SUPPOSED to be a MAJOR part of their job responsibilities, right?) My own HR manager at Lowe's giggled and laughed when I asked her why I was not being allowed to take one break during my nine-hour shifts and was forced to cover the second breaks of cashiers even though I was in a different department. What's so "funny" about that? Are there ANY decent HR people out there anymore who don't think employees' concerns are automatically humorous and/or invalid?
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Old 04-27-2007, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Finally made it to Florida and lovin' every minute!
22,677 posts, read 17,742,275 times
Reputation: 17566
That's for sure. I've worked for both myself.

As far as the drinking goes, SWB, I know where you're coming from. That was one of the big reasons I left my first husband. After 20 years, I realized that I was following him from bar to bar, thinking it was keeping us together, and it wasn't. It was turning me into a drunk, which I didn't like, and I wanted to see if there was a life off a barstool. Let me tell you, it's a lot better out here than in there, and I think I look and feel better, too. I KNOW I feel better.

Hang in there, Hoosier. It'll blow over.
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Old 04-27-2007, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Hopewell New Jersey
1,393 posts, read 7,298,175 times
Reputation: 1042
Having worked for a medium size organization I can tell you HR dosen't want to get involved in such matters and it's likely they would rather you not have let them know. (plausable deniability). Employers may be held responsible for off site work parties that result in auto accidents & drinking.
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Old 04-27-2007, 09:05 AM
 
Location: God's Country
22,154 posts, read 31,571,331 times
Reputation: 30929
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoosier_guy View Post
The thing is, it's not about the drinking. If they want to do that, I don't have a problem with that. My deal is regarding email broadcasts to a huge group of people and the inappropriate language. If they choose to drink that's their decision, but I also don't believe work email should be used for that. My opinion only.

I brought this to HR not to get her in trouble...but to show that this is happening with others too. And to simply ask if something can be done without calling out someone. Set a process in place that says no foul language etc. in work emails. It's okay to invite people out, but be respectful of the differences in your co-workers. We are all very diverse and not everyone does the same activities.

And HR's response was an awkward laugh. I caught her as she was heading to a meeting. I showed her and she was surprised she wasn't included in on the email. I'm not sure anything will even happen. It's very different working for a small company than a large one.
YES! I think you did the right thing. It was very inappropriate to send an email like that. She probably worded it that way because she's leaving. But it's wrong. I'm proud of you for standing up for what you believe in and what is right! Sometimes it's not easy to speak out for what you believe is right. Maybe nothing will ever come of it, but at least you took a stand for what you think is the right thing. I say good job!!
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