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I love my job but not my boss. He does not like me because I run circles around him in sales. In other words, my feeling is he's resentful because, month after month, I basically make him look bad.

My supervisor was working and a previous customer of mine (not a friend) from a year ago came in. (I was off the day). They began negotiating about possible products to buy. My supervisor said no we cannot do that. My boss for whatever reason did not want to do the deal. My guess is there's not a ton of money in it. I do it to help people out. Hey they all add up!

That's when my customer mentioned that I had done it before. My supervisor got upset and began huffing and puffing. I'm sure the very mention of my name infuriated him. He looked up the previous order and said "ohhh no, she did that against company protocol and she could have gotten fired as a matter of fact I am going to fire her."

This customer went to a neighboring business because he felt he just cost me my job and was worried. He basically wanted to vent. I found out from the customer and the manager at that store about what happened because she felt it was an atrocity he had acted so unprofessionally.

Now its been almost 2 weeks and my supervisor has never brought it up with me. He also does a ton of other bad things like try to get me in trouble for things he lets the males slide on. All the people I work with do exactly what I did, not against policy.

What to do? Could this be considered defamation?

******Just to be clear, our policy is such as long as its a 20% margin or greater, we are allowed to do the deal. Obviously we dont want to discount deeply, as its less money to the associate, not to mention, the company. We are in a very competitive industry. So its definitely allowed.

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    A legal right to what? Compensation for hurt feelings? Aug 1, 2021 at 17:36
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    You have a "chain of command," do you not? Take this problem to your boss's boss. Aug 1, 2021 at 17:41
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    Oh, and "for things he lets the males slide on?" You should get over that quickly. Nothing in your post suggests sexism; this is unprofessionalism, plain and simple. Aug 1, 2021 at 17:42
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    What are you trying to accomplish here? Aug 1, 2021 at 17:46
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    @RobertHarvey Except for the "for things he lets the males slide on", of course. Don't worry — one can be both unprofessional and sexist... Aug 2, 2021 at 0:30

4 Answers 4

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The most likely scenario here is that your supervisor can't stand you, feels threatened by you, or is juts a nasty person. They may want to get rid of you but can't outright fire you potentially because company policy or lack of authority. They still can make your life unpleasant to make you quit on your own.

Could this be considered defamation?

Legal questions are generally a better fit for https://law.stackexchange.com/ but the answer is probably no. Defamation hard to take legal action on and you need to show actual damages.

However if you are consistently treated differently than your male colleagues this could be discrimination. However, to use this angle, you would need good documentation of multiple instances.

What to do?

You have a bunch of choices here:

  1. Find a new job. This sounds like a thoroughly unpleasant work environment and it's unlikely to change anytime soon.
  2. Ignore it. Since your supervisor didn't follow through or even tell you about it, they where most likely just venting in front of the customer. All bark, no bite.
  3. Elevate: What your supervisor did was clearly bad for business since they lost a perfectly good customer. It might also be violating corporate policy and if the discrimination is real, it's a significant legal exposure risk for the company. You can talk to HR or your bosses boss. Keep your emotions out of it, focus on how the behavior harms the company/business. This will damage the relationship with your supervisor beyond repair, but that ship seemed to have sailed anyway.

If you want to elevate, then I suggest you build a strong paper trail first. Keep a journal and write down events including what happened, who was there, date & time, impact on business. A document like this will give you a lot of credibility and strike fear in the heart of most HR representatives. It makes it much less likely that they will ignore you or try to push you off.

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I had a similar encounter, as a customer, where a car rental agency would not rent to me because I had a temporary re-registration on my driver's license, because of the change to "real ID," and my needing one more piece of identity documentation.

I had the official, blessed state documentation of my DL, but they refused to accept it. They claimed they could only enter DLs by scan, and that there was no way to override.

I found another rental, but when I rented from another location, same company, a few days later, the person there entered a simple override and manually entered my DL info. When I asked how she was able to do that, since it was impossible, according to the other location, she just shrugged and said "clearly, you can."

I took it up with the other location, not just for the massive inconvenience, but for lying to my face about it. The manager knew he was going to be in deep trouble with franchise owner over this, and wanted me to drop it, so he also lied some more and said "She's not supposed to do that. It's against the parent company rules, and she's running the risk, now, of getting fired because people are going to find out she did this."

Of course, he was lying, and he was trying to stop word from getting around that he lied to me about doing it, and for refusing to do this override.

To make a long, rambling answer relate back to the question, the "she could get fired" was not about trying to get her in trouble, it was about trying to make a customer, who clearly thinks well of a helpful employee, drop the issue that was inconvenient to employee they were currently dealing with, because they don't want to get the helpful person into trouble.

While you boss is still being a tool for how they are treating the customer, and for trying to emotionally blackmail the customer, and might still be a tool for their pettiness towards you, this could be 100% about trying to back the customer down, and not at all actually about you.

Just another possibility. If you go to war over that, then you might be escalating things when they don't need to be, so be sure before you roll up your sleeves and start swinging. Now, if that customer wants to make an issue of it, that's something else, entirely.

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NOTE: This answer was written before OP's edit.

My guess is there's not a ton of money in it. I do it to help people out. Hey they all add up!

Businesses exist to make money. It's fine that you don't and just want to help people- you're ok with paying for the costs out of your wages, right?

You gave a customer- reading between the lines a friend of yours- a discount that you had no authority to give. This cost the business money. What was the margin on the items and how much did you cut into it? Is it sustainable to do this regularly? You don't know.

This put your supervisor in an awkward position with a difficult and overentitled customer. They could probably have handled it better but then again maybe they did- all we have from their side is a double-biased third-hand account.

Since it's been two weeks with no official mention of it, it sounds like you've gotten away with it. It's probably best to avoid raising it again.

In future, follow the policy for discounts and deals you're allowed to give to the letter. If you don't know what the policy is, now's the time to raise it. Don't explicitly mention this but it will give the impression you're working on correcting it.

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  • @Jennyjenny though I appreciate you calling smart and acknowledging my amazing talent. If my answer helped you, accept it by clicking the green tick- we both get rep that way. Aug 1, 2021 at 21:14
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    This answer assumes a lot. That the OP was/is giving discounts outside of their authority, that the discounts are money-losing, that the OP has no idea about any of of that, that the customer was difficult, etc. etc. It's possible, but not to the certainty presented here. @Jennyjenny sarcasm won't help here.
    – jcm
    Aug 2, 2021 at 3:51
  • @jcm I'm reading it as he chose a low profit deal over no deal, not that he lost the company money. Aug 2, 2021 at 4:04
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    @LorenPechtel except that now the customer expects these low prices everytime. And when they discover that the correct price is higher they leave and go to a competitor. I know that's not the whole story but still isn't really a good outcome for the company.
    – Buh Buh
    Aug 2, 2021 at 13:11
  • I had a different read on this question. I think the deal was for a small dollar value, not a small margin. OP states they can't go under 20% margin, and doesn't say they did go under that. This is for a small sale that only earns the sales associate a couple cents in commission, but still makes the company their 20%+ margin. EG selling five bolts instead of a 100 pack or something like that. Some sales people might not feel it's worth their time to do the paperwork etc. Aug 4, 2021 at 18:20
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I will offer another educated guess as a possibility:

  • your boss in the heat of the moment escalated thing to fast in a weird direction with this customer
  • They now realized that they have gone too far in telling the customer that they were going to fire you
  • They now realized that the whole exchange, namely loosing a customer by offending them with information upsetting them will no reflect well on the boss
  • Now the boss concluded internally that bringing up (which would happen if they want to fire you) an example of them loosing a customer by interpreting margin rules more strictly that needed and offending the customer may not be the best thing to bring up with the next disciplinary level (maybe in light of their sales numbers) and that bringing it up may reflect extremely badly on them.

So, calmly ask you boss for explaining the margin rules, summarize it by mail and sent it to them for confirmation (to "make sure you understood it right").

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