Entitled To Training To Be Entitled

, , , , , , , | Working | June 23, 2019

(I take over the responsibility of running a small team at work. It is clear that they are unhappy so I do all I can to help them out, talk with them regularly, and generally keep them running smoothly. Things improve quickly, but one person always has a complaint, be it work related or otherwise. He asks to speak to me in private.)

Worker: “I’ve got a problem. Why am I being paid much less than everyone else?”

Me: “I don’t know your exact wage, but I don’t think you are.”

Worker: “Well, I know that I am! [Worker #1] and [Worker #2] get paid a lot more than me.”

Me: “They have been in the position for much longer than you, have completed their training, and have had pay increases based on their yearly performance.”

Worker: “Okay, well, how do I complete my training?”

Me: “You have to show competence in each area of the job; there is a sign-off sheet for each skill. When you and I are happy with the skill we will both sign. When you have signed all of them, you are officially trained.”

Worker: “Okay, I want to do that.”

(I collect all of the training sheets. They have been written to cover one skill each; I improved them to make sure it’s very clear. You can actually use the sheet to help you with the job. Under each one, you sign to say that you are competent in that skill and have received training, and that if you fail to follow the instructions you may be questioned and possibly, in extreme cases, disciplined. I give the pack to him and hear nothing until I am called into HR.)

HR Manager: “We have had a complaint about unfair treatment and entrapment. Apparently, you have asked [Worker] to sign something that will get him in trouble.”

Me: “That would be the training document; have you read it?”

HR Manager: “Yes.”

Me: “And you can see that it is nothing like entrapment and everyone has been treated the same?”

HR Manager: “Yes, that was all. Thanks.”

(Not to be put off, I explain everything to the worker again and tell him how this is fair and normal. He accepts and I hear nothing back until I get called into HR again.)

HR Manager: “We have had a complaint that you are paying someone who works for you less, because of his race.”

Me: “This would be [Worker]?”

HR Manager: “I cannot say.”

Me: “Okay, I am going to pretend that [Worker] is the only person reporting to me of a different race and explain. [Worker] will be paid the full amount for the role, minus merit increases earned by others for their long service. He can only do this once he has signed the training documents. This has been explained.”

HR Manager: “And if he refuses to sign?”

Me: “No one can make a mistake and not face discipline if it is appropriate. That is what this is about. If he truly believes that he cannot do the job after several months and multiple training sessions, I will happily transfer him to any other department that needs him.”

HR Manager: “To be honest with you, I have already spoken to the individual, and I think that this is the case, but I need to follow the process.”

(I hoped that this was all over; I had been nothing but patient and tried to help and explain. He seemed to understand and be happy with the extra effort I was doing to get him more money. To my surprise, the worker took me to an independent tribunal, which sided in my favour. He then took me to another tribunal that sided in my favour. He later signed the documents and got the pay rise without issue.)

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