- Blog post
Stupid Manager Tricks: What were they thinking?
Editor’s Note: Most managers are diligent, empathetic and savvy professionals who know how to get the best from their people and stay on the right side of the law. And then there are the other ones — those whose blunders land them in court, on the news and, sometimes, on HR blogs. Here are a few cautionary tales from the darker side of management:
“Here’s a suggestion: Let’s all get naked, sit in a circle and worship a male fertility symbol!”
Managers at a Southern California law firm allegedly insisted that male employees attend an offsite “New Warrior Training Adventure” where participants were encouraged to sit nude in a circle and pass around a wooden phallus. Now one lawyer who didn’t want to enjoy such a wild weekend has sued, claiming managers retaliated against him for his reticence. The lawyer claims the firm stopped paying him and that his boss grew so hostile he had to resign. The firm says it only suggested he go to the weekend retreat in the Santa Barbara mountains. The ManKind Project, which ran the pow-wow, describes it as “a modern male initiation and self-examination.”
“I’m no doctor, but it looks like a bad case of the swirls to me….”
Here’s an amateur medical opinion for you – a dyslexic employee risks “seeing things swirly” and having an accident. That’s exactly what a supervisor for a waste disposal company in Shreveport, LA, told a truck driver when the driver revealed his condition. The supervisor then fired the driver, disregarding the fact that he was able to do his job just fine. Now the company has agreed to settle the EEOC’s resulting discrimination lawsuit, paying $95,000 and submitting to future monitoring on its handling of disability accommodation requests.
“Yes, we’re a strip club. Okay, a racist strip club. But we don’t want to look bad.”
Managers at a Stuart, FL, strip club told employees that “black music makes the club look bad.” Now the club, Papermoon, and its Virginia-based parent will pay $95,000 to settle the EEOC’s suit. In addition to banning so-called “black music” at the club, the managers also made black employees work in the back of the house rather than in the front, and used racial slurs.