eZone   AFSCME Local 328
 4006 Barbur Blvd, Portland, OR 97239

Frequently Asked Questions - Work Environment

My supervisor threatened me with discipline this morning because I expressed frustration regarding another co-worker's lack of boundaries and respect. I do not feel her response was an appropriate way to address my concerns. The other employee is not technically in my department but part of a shared services model, who my supervisor also directs. My supervisor stated I take things personally and she's going to discipline me. What is my next step? I am now afraid to speak my mind.

Sounds like a rough situation.  I think there are several options, but it really depends to some extent on the situation, and there aren't enough details here to know. It partially depends on how you expressed your frustration (asking for assistance versus slamming doors), what the other coworker is doing in terms of boundaries and respect.

You could do one or all of these as your next step.

  • you could talk to HR about concerns about the manager
  • You could talk to the Ombudsman about it and see if she has ideas
  • you could talk to a Conflict Coach about how to have conversations about frustrations in ways that might be more productive and figure out what your supervisor means by taking things too personally  (this is a service through the CWE center)
  • you could ask to take some of the Conflict and Communication classes (better skills are always helpful)
  • If you are disciplined with a written warning, the union can help you file a grievance.

The one I'd recommend is starting with a conflict coach, because he or she can help you explore the situation and possibly develop other ideas of things you can do to make things better, improve techniques for speaking your mind more effectively. And look at other resources at OHSU that might be helpful.

I have complaints in regards to violence and/or threatening and bullying in the work place. What are my options, and who should I talk to?

There are many resources available in such situations, and they are as follows:

Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity. Complaint for harassment or discrimination based on protected classes such as: race, religion, ethnic origin, etc. or sexual harassment which is considered any action, verbal or physical, that is embarrassing, suggestive or degrading to an individual on the basis of his or her sex. (503) 494-5148.

Code of Conduct/OHSU Corporate Compliance. Guides the behavior and performance of all OHSU employees, students and others who act on behalf of OHSU. Focuses on compliance with applicable federal and state laws, OHSU policies and procedures and high ethical standards Corporate Compliance (503) 494-8837, Clinical Compliance (503) 494-6113, Research Compliance (503) 494-2351.

Positive Work Environment (PWE). Complaint to address problems in the work area that are not covered in the contract or by filing an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity complaint such as: hostile work environment due to management or co-worker conduct not related to sexual harassment (see Affirmative Action). (503) 239-9858.

OHSU Office of Integrity. The OHSU Integrity Office provides leadership for OHSU's compliance with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and guidelines. You may call the OHSU Integrity Hotline at 877.733.8313 or go to the Integrity Hotline web site to report the issue online at https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/18915/index.html

My question is , I work in Digestive health and I’m a rooming MA and work with another MA making us two rooming MA for the attire clinic. We have about 120 to 130 Pt a day with 14-20 different doctors. i can be so overwhelming at times and we have asked if hiring another rooming MA even if it was part time. and our answer is always , yeah it’s not going to happened,

Unfortunately, you are not alone. Staffing issues are common, and it is not always possible for the employer to bring on additional staff. Just be sure that you are given your breaks as you are entitled, that your rights as an employee are respected, ensure that the work you do is safe, and keep your manager informed when work does not get done. At the end of the day, you can only do as much as you can, and if work does not get done or falls behind - even when you give your best effort - then the responsibility rests on the manager to pick up the slack or fix their staffing.

There is a Letter of Agreement for Coders in ICD-10 training and Incentive. The dates aren't all correct for implementation. The contract was signed 03/2013 which is after we all knew the final implementation date. How is this corrected?

Contact your manager first. If this does not work (or is not feasible) then you should contact your director. Then, if they fail to take action, you may need to file a grievance to have the problem corrected.

Who can I talk to that can help me stop the harassment in my workplace? What are my rights aa an employee?

  If you are being harassed by coworkers, then the first person you should talk to is your manager. The manager is responsible for keeping the peace.

  If the harassment is because you are a member of a protected class because of race, religion, national ordinance or gender then you should call affirmative action at 503-494-5148.

  For ordinary friction between coworkers, our local offers BridgeBuilders. BridgeBuilders is an expedited form of peer to peer mediation developed by our local.


What do I do if I feel my supervisor is creating a hostile work environment for me?

The first thing you should do is start to document what is happening and when it happens.  If you notice you are being treated differently than others, note that too.  You can also file a code of conduct complaint.  You should contact the union and ask for assistance in filing the complaint.

Last week I witnessed a supervisor tell an employee that they must perform a certain task within an unreasonable time frame (2 hours). Several other employees agree that the time frame for that task was impossible. If we all tell the supervisor that that task cannot be performed within 2 hours, yet that supervisor continues to insist that it must be accomplished within that time frame, what should the response by the employee be? The problem is that the contract is not "broken" in this instance.

Your approach to resolving this problem is excellent; pulling together really adds strength to your concerns.

My recommendation is that you not only tell, but demonstrrate to the supervisor that the work cannot be completed in the two hours.  The second step is to develop a solution or at least ideas on how to resolve the issue.  Are there ways to streamline the work, cut out steps, change the way the work is staffed? 

 If anyone is counseled or disciplined for not meeting the unreasonable expectations you have collectively laid solid groundwork that will help make a grievance successful should we need to file one.

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