1

What would you do?

A team leader (she) at a distribution center gets promoted to a operations manager role by the general manager (he).

The team leader asks all the associates on the distribution center floor to 'contribute' money to buy a nice gift for the general manager for all the 'amazing' work that he has done.

The gift is an expensive jacket, that costs around $1100. The associates are all newcomers to the country that earn minimum wage. (around 25 who are full time, and 20 who are temp workers).

The gift is bought and given to the general manager. Unknown how much was actually contributed by each person...or paid by the operations manager.

The general manager is seen wearing the gift after 2 days.

Is this right?

  • What is your roll in all this? – Dark Matter Jan 21 at 4:12
  • I am a warehouse coordinator. Not a supervisor or manager. – Kris_Stav Jan 21 at 4:30
  • Are you 100% sure it's the same jacket? Maybe the GM liked it so much, they bought themselves one. – viorel Jan 21 at 8:21
  • What happens if you didn't 'contribute'? In my workplace plenty of collections go around however its completely optional. No money or don't want to, pass it on! – Twyxz Jan 21 at 8:25
  • Also did you get asked to pay some money or no? – Twyxz Jan 21 at 8:41
7

What I would do is to treat it as useful information.

The team leader is making two mistakes - first, gifts should never "go up", so while it may be reasonable for managers to give gifts to staff, staff giving gifts to managers is always likely to look bad - suggesting (strong words I know) coercion or bribery.

Second, she's calling into question her relationship with the general manager. I know I'm not the only person to wonder whether this is strictly professional.

Another interesting question would be how the general manager responded - a good manager would thank everyone who contributed and then make it quite clear they didn't want it to happen again. A mediocre manager would thank everyone and look embarrassed. A poor manager would say nothing.

There's a fourth possibility - does the general manager know that staff contributed, or does he think the gift is solely from the team leader?

Whatever the outcome, you've learned something about the company and at least one of the people who works there in a position of authority. This will help you determine how good a fit this company is for you.

And no. It's not right.

3

What would you do?

Nothing....

3

Is this right?

I think you're asking if this is ethical. Asking employees (especially those only earning minimum wage) to chip in for a gift to celebrate their manager's good work is not ethical. Even asking employees to voluntarily contribute could be construed as coercion i.e. not donating would threaten their jobs.

Gifts for a manager's good performance should come from the company's budget not the employee's pockets. Furthermore these gifts should be consistent e.g. everyone that hits 5 years at the company gets a jacket. Otherwise this gift could also be seen as favoritism.

What would you do?

I wouldn't contribute any money, because I'm assuming the contributions are voluntary. You also said that:

Unknown how much was actually contributed by each person or paid by the operations manager.

which tells me that who contributed what is not public knowledge. You could play the game and pay up, but, frankly, I don't care to stay working at those kind of places.

2

Is it right?

Almost certainly not, but what kind of problem is unclear (are they lovers? is this some sort of harassment? pay-off?)

If you're not a manager, and you didn't hand out money, then this seems like a train-wreck-to-be and I suggest you steer clear of it. Don't report it, don't touch it, don't do anything. You don't seem to know enough to get involved and you probably don't want to.

2

If you're part of this team - Don't get involved.

If you're not part of this team - Don't get involved.

Just stay out of it. In my company there are voluntary collections that go around to people who want to donate to occasions such as birthdays etc.. but as this person has just been promoted and suddenly wants to 'thank' their boss? That's absurd. Why didn't she do it before she was promoted?

If everyone was to provide equal amounts it would work out around $25 each. That's a large amount to be giving away if you're on minimum wage or as a temp. That money could amount a weeks shopping for one person.

Is this right?

It's not wrong necessarily but unethical by the newly promoted colleague? Yes.

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