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Does Your Policy Manual State “Underwear Is Not Optional”? 


by Glenn Shepard
September 15, 2015
Category:  Management


El Dorado, AR Sept 16
Southaven, MS Sept 17
Homewood, IL Sept 29
Peoria, IL Sept 30
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Dear Glenn,

I work for a company that believes in reverse evaluations.  I don’t think it is right to allow employees to evaluate their superior.  I feel it gives the employees a sense of power and puts the employee and manager on the same level.  This could make the manager feel reluctant to make important staff corrections as they might get rated poorly on their reverse review.   Please advise as I’m struggling with my management techniques trying to comply with my company’s wishes without losing my confidence as a manager.  I’ve managed people for over 10 years and have never had as much difficulties with my staff as I have had since I started in this position.  Help! What am I missing?

- Carrie in Emporia, KS 

Dear Carrie,

        I’m with you 100%. Reverse evals are dangerous for the exact reason you described. Having customers evaluate employees is even more dangerous, because it creates a conflict of interest. I know of one restaurant chain that discontinued having employees evaluate bartenders because several bartenders who got high scores were bribing their customers by over pouring and undercharging.
   If your company insists on reverse evals, make sure they’re weighted properly and that whoever oversees them understands that the conflict of interest they can create can completely defeat the purpose of doing them.
   Thanks for your question.

- Glenn in Nashville, TN

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I missed the obituary, but modesty apparently died in our lifetime.

The irony is that so many young women who are culprits don’t have a clue as to what women endured just a generation ago.  

In a 1974 case (Barnes v. Train), a female employee rejected her boss’s se*ual advances and alleged she was retaliated against because of it. But the trial court ruled that there was no se* discrimination and that the male supervisor “Merely solicited his subordinate because he found her attractive and then retaliated because he felt rejected”.  

Though an appellate court reversed that decision in 1977, it wasn’t until 1980 that the EEOC issued guidelines that forbid se*ual harassment as a form of se* discrimination.  
In 1981, a U.S. court ruled for the first time that liability could exist for a “Se*ually Hostile Environment,” even if the employee lost no tangible job benefits as a result (Bundy v. Jackson).  

HR professionals had to start warning men not to stare at female coworkers. But at about the same time, young women started coming to work dressed more like they were going to a nightclub than to their jobs.  

First, “Mom Jeans” were replaced by low rise jeans that draw attention to the exact part of the female anatomy men were being told not to look at.  

Then came “Tramp Stamps” (tattoos on the lower back) to draw even more attention.  

Then there was pulling the thong underwear out to draw even more attention.   And as if that’s not enough, the latest trend is going commando (no underwear).  

The manager of a medical practice in Augusta, GA told me one of her employees came to work wearing no underwear and with such a low waistline that “There was NOTHING left to the imagination”. They made her wear a jacket to cover herself.  

The manager asked “Have we come to a point where we actually have to tell employees to wear underwear?”  

Sadly, the answer is YES. There was a time when modesty and common sense dictated what "reasonable” workplace attire was, but that time has gone the way of VCRs and 8-track tapes.  

As one female manager put it, she tells her female employees to “Cover the Three B’s”.  

No matter how obvious they seem to you, you have to communicate what your standards are. Common sense is not so common any more.

To Your Success,

P.S. * = X

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