I've been working at my company for just over 3 years now and are the longest employee. I have a medical condition which causes me to have an irregular sleeping pattern which causes me to be late for work occasionally. The company directors both know about this and have been very supportive. I know being late is wrong and I ensure my time sheets are the same as co workers regardless of what time I start.

2/3 weeks ago we took on a sales person to help bring in some work. To do this we all had to take a wage cut of 20%. This newly appointed person is a friend of the director and calls himself a Commercial Director. Yesterday I was late for work and was accosted by this person who demanded to know why I was late. I said that I had already spoken to the company director about the reasoning for my absence which silenced him.

Later that day the rest of the team left for lunch leaving just me and him. Within seconds of the door closing he relaunched his interrogation to which I flatly responded by explaining that I didn't feel it was his right to know since he was just a sales guy and not the company director. He proceded to attack my morals, my attitude towards work, my respect for my coworkers and threatened dismissal. At this point my coworkers returned from lunch to which he broke off the conversation abruptly.

When the company director came back he called me into a meeting to see how I was getting on, before he could say a word distressed from the earlier events I burst into tears and was sent home. Never have I been so distressed.

The next day I sent a text to the director to say thanks for being sensitive yesterday and that I'd like to resume our private meeting today. As I was getting ready to go into work with a brave face on my coworker sent me a message explaining that the Director had shown that text to this sales guy / commercial director and that he would also be joining in on the meeting.

The meeting went ahead and before saying anything I requested that the sales guy was not present in this private meeting as I didn't feel comfortable discussing my condition infront of him. Almost immediately the sales guy opened up and said that my attitude was disgusting and that asking for him to not be present was very rude. The director said very little in that meeting.

I'm upset that the Director showed private messages to this staff member without my permission and that my wish to have a private meeting wasn't honoured.

Talking to my fellow co workers they said that what they heard was out of order and that they too have had similar fights. Moral is very low right now.

The other director returns from holiday next week and I was wondering. Should I talk to them about this guy? or should I just leave quietly?

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    To be honest, the instant your wages were cut by 20%, you should have started sending out job applications. – Carson63000 Apr 13 '13 at 7:30
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    I know you're upset, but between "none of your business buddy you're not a director and I'm paying your salary by taking a cut in mine" and spilling the entirely highly personal story, there's "I have permission to set my own working hours due to a medical condition I don't wish to discuss. I always work a full week even when I start late." Professional, polite, and addresses his concerns. That said, the behaviour you're being subjected to now is unlikely to improve, so if it's not tolerable, don't tolerate it. – Kate Gregory Apr 13 '13 at 8:38
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    @davidblaine Some people post problems with fake SE user accounts here because they don't want a sensitive question be linked to their real SE account, as it could be found by their coworkers and put them in a worse situation. – MrFox Apr 15 '13 at 15:24
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    @davidblaine most employers don't. I'm very lucky in that respect. When I'm up I can work just as fast as anyone else so no performance isn't an issue. I too am inconsistent. I keep a regular wind down time, but waking can vary by up to 12 hours either way. The docs haven't narrowed it down. – user8698 Apr 15 '13 at 22:25
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    @david-You simply walk into your manager's office and let them know your situation. Most manager's will try to work with you. If they tell you their hands are tied, it's company policy then go to a doctor, see if the doctor can help you sleep better. If they can't help then get them to write a letter describing how your condition affects your sleep. Once again, try your manager and if they won't help then go to HR and try them. Once medical conditions are involved then "lawsuit" worries flash before the HR person's eyes and accomodations seem to become much more available. – Dunk Apr 15 '13 at 22:30

The optimist perspective

First, see it from the perspective of the sales guy.

  • You're hired because a company cannot get enough work to support adding another person and so the company cuts salaries of everyone by 20% to add you. This suggests to me either
    • The company cannot make enough sales to support itself without drastic measures
    • The guy is such a friend of the directors they are willing to screw over the company to give him a really nice salary
  • Someone in this company (which is doing poorly) randomly is late to work
  • When asked, that person just says "the director said it's ok to be late to work" (it sounds like you never explained 1) that you work the same hours and 2) you have medical reasons)
  • When pressed again, the person arriving late just says, "none of your business"

Now, it may not be any of this guy's business why you're late to work. But telling someone who everyone took a pay cut to hire literally no reasonable explanation for why you are late to work (not even "it's a medical condition") except "none of your business" is absolutely going to frustrate any rational person who it sounds like was hired to save a company.

From his perspective, you just show up late for work with literally no explanation and are perfectly fine with this.

I'm upset that the Director showed private messages to this staff member without my permission and that my wish to have a private meeting wasn't honoured.

The director is probably upset you can't work things out. If you've had three or four opportunities to talk and give some explanation other than "none of your business" and not done this, he's probably annoyed.

Your problem right now is you are not able to communicate with the new sales guy and have shown no interest in doing so, to the extent you will let him berate you and give you a really hard time instead of giving any explanation which makes any sense. Is this fair? No, not really.

Talking to my fellow co workers they said that what they heard was out of order and that they too have had similar fights. Moral is very low right now.

If this guy is an overall terrible guy to be around and just was hired because he's a friend of the director, you're basically screwed - and of course morale is going to be low, you all took a 20% pay hit to hire someone who turned out to be a jerk.

The other director returns from holiday next week and I was wondering. Should I talk to them about this guy? or should I just leave quietly?

Honestly, it sounds like you are completely non-confrontational to the point where you'll let yourself be driven out of the company rather than trying to deal with the situation. It doesn't seem like you're going to be willing to pick up this discussion to the level you need to - you haven't even been willing to give any explanation whatsoever to the sales guy.

Unless you are doing such awesome work that the company would seriously suffer if you left, you are likely not to have any chance here either - going up against a personal friend of a director is not likely for you to win.

Look at the questions under for similar situations with preferential treatment.

The pessimist perspective

All that being said - if this guy is a complete jerk and gets a "I'm a friend so I do what I want" status, you aren't going to change anything longer term by staying. No explanation will satisfy him and change his jerkish behavior.

Additionally, if your directors of the company are "ok" with bad/jerkish behavior this probably is not the best sign long-term for your relationship with the company. Considering they hit your pay 20% to hire a friend, well... not really a company that I would want to work for.

If this is the case, well, you basically have to either deal with a jerk having special privileges - at your expense, literally - or leave. Given what you say in the question, it sounds like you aren't either able/willing/wanting to deal with it, and so you should leave.

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    Thanks for all the advice! In the moment I was a rabbit in headlights so those sensible words didn't come to me. Judging from all the comments it seems leaving is the right way to go, but should I explain why I'm leaving? – user8698 Apr 13 '13 at 13:32
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    If you read the entire first part of my answer I explain this sales person is annoyed - and rightly so - and it doesn't sound like you have done anything constructive to try to resolve that situation and only made it worse. If you have no interest in doing any more efforts to deal with this person professionally, then you might as well just quit... – enderland Apr 13 '13 at 18:15
  • Thanks. I don't like conflict and I try and avoid it if possible, yet at the same time I want to try and stand up for myself. Could I ask how would you handle the initial confrontation without being walked over? Thanks again, I appreciate your responses – user8698 Apr 14 '13 at 0:01
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    @user8698 If you want to handle a bully then you can't have any fear of the bully and not be afraid of what this person can do to you. Bullies become powerful because of fear. You have to value your own self respect more than just a stupid job. – maple_shaft Apr 15 '13 at 10:03

They asked everyone to take a 20% cut in pay to hire this guy, this should have been your first clue that he is there to save the company or because he is friends with the owners and anything he wants he will get. Your first move should have been to make friends with him. Since you chose to make him mad instead (and escalated that mad at least twice), there is little hope of salvaging the relationship now. The only possible way would be to grovel to the new guy to the point that almost anyone would find unacceptable. The guy is a jerk and will accept nothing less than servitude from you.

For the future, if someone in a postion of authority (and anyone they cut your pay to hire is in authority over you no matter what the org chart might say) asks why you are late, explain that you have a medical condition (you don't need to disclose what) and that you have permission to be late as long as your make up the hours. Don't get mad, don't get snotty and don't say, "None of your business."

I'm not saying he didn't act like a jerk. He did. I'm saying that he knows he can act like a jerk because right now he is the most imporatnt guy in the company.

Personally I would not stay at a company that chose to cut my pay to hire someone else. This is clue that you are considered unimportant or that the company is in dire trouble. Anytime cutting your pay is on the table, looking for a new postion immediately is called for.

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    Thanks for the advice. I tried to stand up for myself but I think I did it too brashly, I don't usually try to antagonise people. Lessons learnt for next time! Thanks again. – user8698 Apr 14 '13 at 19:29

If you do talk to the directors about the new guy, be prepared for things to get spread around. I can question if you can look at this from the new guy's perspective where someone comes in late and it is just seen as fine. While you say that you know being late is wrong, do you see how the new guy without knowing your situation may see things differently and want to not stay in the dark?

Does the new sales guy have an equity stake in the company that would make him part of the management that could be how he'd claim a right to know about your medical condition that is being accommodated? That would be another point here.

While there may be human rights councils or labor boards in your area where you could try to file a complaint, I'd be careful about how much of your past would have to be disclosed and if there were procedural points that you bypassed here.

I'd suggest leaving quietly is likely your best option at this point.

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    Thanks for the advice JB. I can certainly see it from his perspective, which I tried to explain to him. No he's not a stakeholder and is registered as an employee of the company. I guess if I was in his situation I would have raised it with the Directors instead of taking matters into my own hands. – user8698 Apr 13 '13 at 12:06
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    About the first paragraph: I don't see how a new employee ever would approach someone working there longer and act that way. – Matsemann Apr 14 '13 at 10:56
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    @Matsemann, you don't see how someone could be immature and go off on a power trip attacking someone for being late? Really? I can easily see it from a few different perspectives. – JB King Apr 14 '13 at 20:49

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