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The Squeaky Wheel Greases The Nipple

, , , , , | Working | January 3, 2022

I get called into a meeting; it sounds urgent. They ask me to sit with a member of staff as a complaint has been made. The standard process is to get a manager that is impartial.

I take the sobbing woman to a private room and sit her down.

Me: “So, can you tell me what happened?”

Woman: “[Coworker] made a really disgusting remark to me.”

Me: “Okay. Do you feel okay if I ask you to repeat it?”

Woman: “Well, he said he wanted me to pass him the greased nipples.”

Me: “Okay. How did he say it?”

Woman: “Just like that, as plain as day. Like it was nothing!”

Me: “What were you doing at the time?”

Woman: “Ugh, all these questions! Why can’t you just fire him already?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we need to be sure what happened to take the best course of action. What were you doing at the time?”

Woman: “I was helping him fix the grease guns. I don’t even know why I had to. He could do it himself. I’m sure it’s just to punish me.”

Me: “Okay, just to confirm, he definitely said, ‘Greased nipples,’ and not, ‘Can you pass me the grease nipple?’”

Woman: “I don’t know. Why does it matter? What’s the difference?”

Me: “Well, ‘grease nipple’ is the correct name for a screw-in cap, fitted to most of our grease guns. The other, well, could be seen as misconduct.”

Woman: “I don’t know, either. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Me: “Okay, and then you came straight here?”

Woman: “Yes, I did.”

Me: “Okay. Well, thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will take it seriously and look into the matter. We may need to give you both paid suspensions while we investigate it further.”

It didn’t take long after to have another witness come forward. She said she heard the guy ask for the grease nipple and then helped him fit it, and that the woman was too busy playing on her phone to actually listen to him.

Both were brought back and no further actions were taken. However, the guy — a man in his sixties — felt like it was just too much and was so worried about what people would think of him that he retired early.

We couldn’t do anything about the woman’s false accusation, but we did end up moving her away from machinery as she was too much of a risk when distracted.

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