Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I wanted to do something lighthearted for this post, especially after the last post's crankiness. And then life decided to drop a boatload of crap on my little sister.

She's been working for our dad for the past couple of weeks, thankful to have any job due to getting fired from her last one and unemployment fighting her on benefits. Dad owns part of a company that is involved with corporate parties and larger events, and he runs the carpentry warehouse. They'll build all sorts of things for the theme that they're hired for, up to and including a scale mini-Alamo. Our brother works with him, too, and Dad and Bro work crazy hours to set up and tear down these parties. Sis was working very basic work there, just helping out as much as she could.

There was one guy there that kept invading her personal space. Nothing too over the top, but enough to make her uncomfortable. Our brother noticed it and went to our dad. Our dad, who hates any type of confrontation, went to one of the women in the office area that deals with the planning aspect of the parties to ask her to talk to the guy since she'd known him for a while. The woman went and talked to the guy. Now, I wouldn't have chosen this woman to talk to him since she doesn't have any amount of tact, but he needed to be talked to in order to keep the working environment safe for my sister and safe from harassment issues.

Next thing my sister knew, the guy had quit. He came back the next day and went to talk to one of the other company owners, the one who runs the office section. He accused several people in the warehouse of doing unsavory things, ranted about my dad, etc. The partner, who shall be known as Asshat to me from now on, came out to yell at my dad. My dad, of all people. Asshat accused my dad of not knowing how to manage his people, told my dad that he'd be willing to buy out his share of the company if my dad didn't want to be there anymore, and basically berated him for over an hour.

Today my sister told me that she's no longer working with our dad. Apparently, Asshat doesn't want her working there because it creates a family bias. Ummm...excuse me? The only family bias that has been shown has been on the part of Asshat, who veers into the area of biased against family members. He even discounts my brother's ideas and suggestions because listening to them would be showing "bias." My brother is an intelligent and level guy, whose ideas stand quite well on their own merit. And my sister is a hard worker who tries to not cause trouble. My dad, the poor guy who is bearing the brunt of Asshat's unfounded anger, deserves the respect due a business partner and talented carpenter.

This guy, who is richer than anyone else there due to other investments and business ventures, has no idea what goes on in the warehouse. He doesn't know the dynamic, and he doesn't know what it takes to get stuff done. He's an equal partner to my dad, and he needs to stop acting like he's the boss. My dad needs to stand up for himself. If our dad didn't own part of this company and if he wouldn't suffer the consequences as well, my sister would have grounds for a lawsuit. She was made uncomfortable in a work environment, there were steps taken to fix the situation, and she was asked to not come back for a bogus reason.

I really want to punch this guy. Or at least ream him out. Actually, I'd love to sue his ass and kick him out of my dad's company. More than anything, I want to make him regret being such a terrible human being. I want to make him cry, but I can't. I don't have the means, the ability, or the stomach to be the person that could do that. So instead, I write and vent. And pray for guidance and assistance for my family. *sigh*


  1. FGBVs, baby. I'm sorry things suck for your sister. And I hope things work out for your Dad.

    It may come down to your brother making a list of all of his suggestions and how they were shot down based on the "bias" argument and your Dad listing about three significant instances that his expertise on the dynamic of the warehouse got things done, and then... he's going to have to confront.

    Best way is to do this with the aforementioned evidence and when he's on his territory and not in the midst of conflict. A$$vice, I know but strategy counts. The partner gets to think he can berate for an hour because he knows your Dad doesn't like confrontation. Your Dad's going to have to surprise him, when he's ready.

  2. Was your dad your sister's direct supervisor? Plenty of businesses are family businesses, especially craft businesses and it actually helps them get customers and maintain good public relations because like the idea of family. The unfortunate thing is that there is a thin line between nepotism and family business. Would it be possible for your dad in a week or two, to go to his partner and say "we need to rehire L or find someone to replace her because necessary tasks aren't getting done." Then, when taking job applications, if your sister's is at the top because she's shown that she can work well with people at the company and she's the best person to handle those tasks (save money on training certainly), then there is no good HR argument not to rehire her.

    From what I understand, when hiring family it's imperative that it be done super above-board and with all possible checks and transparencies to show A--someone needed to be hired and B--the best person for the job was the family member. It's like the lawyer ethic, "always avoid even the appearance of impropriety." Unfortunately the truth doesn't always matter as much as appearances.

    What would happen if your dad were bought out and opened his own business? Would the original one run as well? Would he be able to take clients with him? Would it be a less toxic environment? Not say that's what he should do, just it's worth a thought--let himself be bought out and then have your sister threaten a suit (the PR damage will be worse than the monetary) while your dad sets up his new business with old clients.

    (note, I'm on your sister's side here and think that your dad can legally find a way to insist that she be rehired, the language isn't meant to be cold)

  3. Unfortunately, my dad will probably never confront the guy. His aversion to any sort of confrontation is pathological. It's one of his major faults, and it's so frustrating for me that he won't stand up for himself.

    His lack of money skills is another issue, so opening his own business wouldn't be a good move. He's in his 60s, his work is hard and physical and he's had back surgery. He doesn't have that long left that he can keep doing what he's doing. It's a good idea, but...*sigh* I know my family. They'll be pissed but won't do much to fix it. It's ostrich time.

    My brother's actually leaving the company after the next huge event. He was a cop in the Air Force, and my sis says that he's going to go be a cop in one of the cities around here. I'm not sure, though, so I'll know more after Father's Day.

    This isn't my battle, though, and that's the most frustrating part. I'm going to see how much they'll be willing to listen, but I'm pretty much impotent here right now. Argh.

  4. i'm thinking asshat should take his investment $$ and retire to fulfill his calling as the smarmy loudmouth who bothers women in bars/grocery stores/gas stations. It seems to be his talent.

  5. ooh and if anyone is "impotent" in this situation, I sincerely hope karma visits that on a truly deserving jerk.