What are the actions to take if a direct manager makes inappropriate comments to a contractor?

This is a right to work state, which means that an employee can be terminated at anytime without cause. Additionally the person in question is a contractor, which in my experience, if there is a minor disagreement between a full time employee and the contractor, HR solves the problem by terminating the contractor.

The situation is that the direct manager made a quip about the contractor's wife being an old lady, suggesting that the wife is 85 years old or something along those lines. It was totally uncalled for.

What would you recommend? My own would be to keep my mouth shut until the contractor is ready to move on. Perhaps then HR can become involved, but it would only lead to the contractor's termination.

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    "Golly that's a tough one..." followed by returning to minding my own business. – dwizum Feb 11 '19 at 17:43
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    So did your direct manager make an inappropriate comment to a contractor? That is between the manager and the contractor. Why are you trying to interject yourself in their affairs? – sf02 Feb 11 '19 at 17:44
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    @PeteB. not a nice comment at all that last one you posted. If other users asked it was because it is not evident you are asking "for a buddy". Still, if you are asking "how can I foo the bar" it is a valid answer/clarification to say "why do you want to foo the bar?".. – DarkCygnus Feb 11 '19 at 18:12
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    Context and nationality is important. If the manager was from the UK and said "How's your old lady?", that's a colloquialism for "How is your wife". – PeteCon Feb 11 '19 at 18:21
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    Know of a case where the manager fired all the contractors just prior to Xmas... Beginning of Feb, all the systems started to fail due to lack of updates... Manager had to hire them all back - they all asked for a lot more money and got it!! The senior managers sacked that manager for not making the cost reductions... :) sweet... – Solar Mike Feb 11 '19 at 21:05

It sounds like your friend would like to complain about this manager because they're a jerk in general, and they probably have insulted your friend in a similar way. Don't do it unless you have another offer in hand :-). But nothing prevents you from discreetly letting the contractor know that you witnessed that behavior, and that you'd be willing to testify on their behalf if they wanted to make something out of it.

And then keep notes of every such example of inappropriate behavior you are a witness to. Date, time, people present, the best paraphrase/citation you can come up with. You never know when HR tries to corroborate that inappropriate behavior has been taking place.

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  • For the record, the boss has insulted everyone. He is a petty and jealous and over steps his bounds all the time. – Pete B. Feb 11 '19 at 18:49
  • Yeah, it didn't sound like it was likely to be an isolated incident.. Document, document! – user90842 Feb 11 '19 at 18:50
  • Boss or direct manager? Direct manager is someone who can/will be fired by the boss if he or she misbehaves badly enough. Boss cannot be fired, boss can only go bankrupt. – gnasher729 Apr 13 '19 at 12:30

What would you recommend? My own would be to keep my mouth shut

I would second your own advice and suggest you mind your own business.

Seems that you are not this contractor, so the comments were not directed towards you. In other words, this is a problem between that contractor and the manager, and it has to be sorted by those parties.

The exception would be in case this somehow prevented you from doing your job. If this is the case, then do proceed to raise this issue and explain how it prevents you from fulfilling your responsibilities.

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