Comstock's magazine 1218 - December 2018 - Page 27

have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.” So, here’s what you need to do: HAVE A FORMAL SIT-DOWN DISCUS- SION, WITH A WITNESS When you’re dealing with someone who is likely to be upset or potentially feel their rights being violated, you don’t want to have this discussion casually. You should have either an HR manager or your manager present for a discus- sion. This discussion should be docu- mented, as well. Make the following things clear • Leaving articles, pamphlets or other material around the office is not al- lowed. • Criticizing people for their food choices is prohibited. This is bullying and not tolerated. • The company will make an effort to accommodate his dietary choices, just as you do for everyone else with dietary restrictions, but that doesn’t mean every food item purchased by the company will be vegan. Remem- ber, he’s not the only person with di- etary restrictions. Someone else may be on a diet that requires high protein and consists mostly of meat. • You will not restrict or monitor food offerings by other employees. If someone brings in donuts, that’s merely nice. The employee is welcome to bring in vegan food to share, but under the same conditions as other shared food. If your general rule is donuts are dropped off in the breakroom, then he can drop off his vegan donuts in the breakroom. He can’t go around delivering them individually to extol their virtues. If he complains that you’re violating the law by not respecting his religious or ethical beliefs, point out that you are in no way suggesting he eat meat-lovers pizza with extra cheese. He is welcome to the same protections every other reli- gious group has. But he cannot be rude to other employees because they have different beliefs. ASK FOR HIS SUGGESTIONS While you basically want him to keep quiet about his personal beliefs and focus on doing his job, you do need to make reasonable accommodations, so go ahead and ask him what he needs. If you have a weekly lunch, it’s entirely reasonable to provide him with a vegan meal. If he asks for that, I’d make it hap- pen. If he asks for the right to hold a weekly lunch and teach his colleagues about veganism, I’d say no, but with one caution: Because you should consider veganism as a religion, if you allow Bible study groups or something similar, you have to grant him the same. But partici- pation is strictly voluntary. Don’t let his obnoxiousness blind you to the accom- modations you’ve given others. is a situation where you show him the door. Of course, you should consult with your employment attorney to make sure the termination is solid and fair, but he either changes or goes. Obnoxious people get away with be- ing obnoxious because it’s so painful for ordinary people to confront them. They know this. He’s gotten away with this behavior for a long time, and it will be difficult to get him to change, but change he must. Just resist the urge to talk with him while eating a double ba- con cheeseburger. n Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corpo- rate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers and double- checked with the lawyers. On Twitter @RealEvilHRLady. BE PREPARED IF HE DOESN’T CHANGE If you’ve talked with your employee and made the rules clear and he continues to harass people, it’s time to fire him. His behavior is bullying, and there is no place for that in the workplace. Period. You’ll lose other employees because of his bad behavior, and you’ll ruin morale. You can’t allow him to continue, so this Have a burning HR question? Email it to: evilhrlady@comstocksmag.com. December 2018 | comstocksmag.com 27